December 2, 2020

Recovering Queen Signs Commonwealth Charter

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Commonwealth DayFrom UK Sky News

The monarch signs the Commonwealth charter after skipping an earlier event, as she continues to recover from gastroenteritis.

The Queen has missed a service at Westminster Abbey but gone ahead with the signing of the new Commonwealth charter as she continues to recover from gastroenteritis.

She had been due to attend the Commonwealth Day Observance at the Abbey where High Commissioners from across the globe watched a keynote address from Sir Richard Branson, but instead left it to the Duke of Edinburgh to represent the Royal Family.

She later made her first official public appearance for more than a week, describing the charter as capturing “the core values and aspirations” of the family of nations, before putting her name to it.

The Queen looked well and in good spirits when she arrived at Marlborough House in central London, home of the Commonwealth, with Prince Philip, for the signing.

Before the ceremony began she told guests from across the globe: “The Charter I will sign today, on behalf of you all, rCommonwealth Dayepresents a significant milestone as the Commonwealth continues its journey of development and renewal.

“We have now, for the first time, a single document that captures the core values and aspirations of the Commonwealth and all its members.”

The monarch spent 24 hours in hospital last week being treated for the stomach bug, which leaves sufferers with vomiting and diarrhoea.

The Queen looked in good spirits at Marlborough House

Buckingham Palace had said on Friday that the Queen would attend the service and it was “business as usual”.

The 86-year-old was struck down by the stomach bug just over a week ago and spent last Sunday night at the private King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London before being discharged on Monday.

Concerns were raised about the Queen’s general wellbeing as it was the first time she had been admitted to hospital in almost 10 years.

But she left the hospital looking well and cheerful.

Her engagements for last week were cancelled, including a brief visit to Rome to meet Italy’s president.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “This time last week she was in hospital, but she’s in great spirits and apart from this is in good health and will be going to the reception in the evening.

“It’s just the tail end of the symptoms, her condition has not worsened at all.”

The Palace added: “The Queen hopes to undertake some of her official engagements planned for the rest of this week.”

Note: Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor of Sky News

Updated: 2:26pm UK, Monday 11 March 2013

The Queen is not signing a new charter “backing equal rights for women and gay people in every Commonwealth nation”, despite headlines to the contrary.

She is signing a document which has no legal underpinning, and which has been watered down in order to ensure Commonwealth countries that have homophobic laws (a majority of them) would agree to it.

This could be regarded as a step forward for those who believe in equality for gay people, or it could be seen as a sop allowing homophobic governments a fig leaf to continue repressive practices.

The Commonwealth Charter declares: “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.”

Not, you will note, “on grounds of sexuality”, but “on other grounds”. This language is not just loose, it is deliberately so.

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