Queen all smiles as she returns to work following birthday break
The Queen returned to work today following a short birthday break at Sandringham.
The monarch, who celebrated her birthday on 21 April, met with the President and First Lady of Switzerland at Windsor Castle, after returning from her Norfolk estate yesterday.
She was last seen in public at her late husband Prince Philip's memorial at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 29 March.
Prior to that, the Queen hasn't carried out any official engagements since she used a walking stick while inspecting a craft exhibition at Windsor Castle on 23 March.
Read more: Royal joint engagement firsts as Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Anne team up
The Queen today received the audience of Mr Ignazio Cassis who is in the country for post-Brexit trade talks and to sign a joint statement on enhancing relations between the UK and Switzerland.
The Queen holds multiple audiences – one-to-one, unrecorded and entirely private meetings – a week with members of the diplomatic community.
Though, according to the Royal website, she also welcomes political, religious and military leaders and people who have won prestigious cultural prizes.
The conversations are short, lasting just 20 minutes or so.
Read more: The Queen's best outfits: the monarch's standout fashion moments as she turns 96
The Queen was seen visiting her much-loved horses for four days in a row while away at Sandringham, putting any specific health fears at bay.
After testing positive for COVID on 20 February and consequently cancelling a number of events, the Queen first returned to work on 1 March, initially carrying out virtual engagements.
Buckingham Palace officials said at the time they would not be giving a "running commentary" on the Queen's health, though her return to engagements suggested she was recovering from her "cold-like" symptoms.
She had also been reportedly carrying out "light duties" such as reading state papers, showing much progress from then to now.
At the Queen's previous engagement at Windsor Castle she examined luxury artefacts by British craftwork firm Halcyon Days, which has three Royal Warrants. These show recognition of companies that have supplied goods or services to the British Royal Households for at least five years.
She was pictured looking cheerful then too and was enthusiastic as she used half moon glasses to examine the artefacts, also leaning on a walking stick due to mobility problems. However, in her more recent engagement, she went without.
Contributing to the Queen's long and healthy life is her love of horse riding, which she'd been doing since a young child, only reportedly stopping well into her 90s in late 2021 due to suffering "discomfort" while riding.
Becoming the oldest British sovereign ever in 2007, aside from her packed schedule over the years, the Queen has also stayed active by enjoying long countryside walks and time with her dogs, first given a Corgi named Susan for her eighteenth birthday, with many others then bred after.
Read more: Harry and Meghan 'were not surprised' by Queen's 'recollections may vary comment', biography claims
In October 2021, around the same time she was told to pause the horse riding, Vanity Fair reported she had been advised to no longer drink alcohol, with her favourite thought to be a dry martini of an evening.
The Queen's former chef, Darren McGrady, also previously revealed the monarch's dining habits in his book Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen. He has said during his time with her she enjoyed four meals a day, including breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, but only ate small portions.
“The royal table hasn’t changed much at all in 63 years," he told PEOPLE magazine in 2020. "One thing about Her Majesty is continuity and the same menus, just allowing new ones to creep in gradually.”
Her meals were "heavy in butter and cream" when entertaining, but she stuck to simple meals like grilled chicken with salad when eating alone. “She’s very disciplined,” said McGrady. “No starch is the rule. No potatoes, rice or pasta for dinner.”
Watch: Queen beams brightly as she returns to work at Windsor