The Queen has been admitted to hospital after experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis and has cancelled a planned visit to Rome this week.

Buckingham Palace said the 86-year-old monarch, who was taken ill on Friday, had been driven to the King Edward VII hospital in central London by private car.

She and the Duke of Edinburgh were due to visit Italy on Wednesday for a two-day visit at the invitation of Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano.

The couple were due to attend a private lunch and also visit the Pantheon, the ancient Roman monument where two Italian kings are buried.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen is being assessed at the King Edward VII Hospital, London, after experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis.

“As a precaution, all official engagements for this week will regrettably be either postponed or cancelled.”

The King Edward VII hospital, which is the preferred choice of hospital for the royal family, was at the centre of a media storm in December when the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted suffering from a severe form of morning sickness.

An inquiry was launched after two Australian radio DJs made a hoax call pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, asking for details of the duchess’s medical condition.

Three days later one of the nurses who was hoaxed, Jacintha Saldanha, 46, a mother of two children, was found hanged at her accommodation. The full inquest into her death is expected to reopen later this month.

The Queen, who celebrates her 87th birthday next month, is expected to remain in hospital for about two days while she is being assessed. She was driven to the hospital in Marylebone by private car from Windsor Castle, where she had been resting.

A spokesman for the Queen said she was in good spirits and was otherwise in good health besides the symptoms of gastroenteritis.

He said: “This is a precautionary measure. She was not taken into hospital immediately after feeling the symptoms. This is simply to enable doctors to better assess her.”

The illness forced the Queen to cancel a military celebration in Swansea on Saturday to mark St David’s day.

The Queen was last in hospital 10 years ago, when she was admitted to the King Edward VII for surgery to remove a torn cartilage from her right knee and lesions from her face.

Queen admitted to hospital – The Guardian
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