Queen cancels Swansea visit after suffering from gastroenteritis

The Queen will spend the weekend at Windsor Castle

The Queen has been forced to cancel a visit to Swansea on Saturday to celebrate St David's Day, after developing symptoms of a stomach bug.

Buckingham Palace said the 86-year-old monarch is suffering from gastroenteritis.

She had been due to present members of 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh with leeks to mark St David's Day.

She will now spend the weekend at Windsor and will be "assessed in the coming days".

At 86, the Queen has robust health. She's opened countless hospitals. She's rarely been an inpatient.

So it's unusual for her to pull out of an official engagement. The last time was five months ago when she had a bad back.

While she rests at Windsor Castle this weekend, her doctors and officials will have to decide whether or not she is well enough to fly to Rome next week. She has been invited by Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano.

It will be an encounter between an elected head of state who is retiring and a hereditary monarch who continues to reign.

As well as a formal ceremonial welcome and a private lunch, the Queen is also due to visit the Pantheon, the ancient Roman monument where two Italian kings are buried.

Theirs was a monarchical dynasty less fortunate than the House of Windsor.

Gastroenteritis causes an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines.

The infection can be transmitted through contact with an infected person or contaminated food and drink. Symptoms can include vomiting, fever and stomach ache.

It was due to be the first time that the Queen was to present leeks to 3 Royal Welsh, which is the reserve force of the regiment.

However, Saturday's ceremonies, including a parade to Swansea's Guildhall, have still taken place - despite the Queen's absence.

The Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Byron Lewis, took over the ceremonial role.

Saturday's celebrations were due to follow other royal events on St David's Day itself on Friday in Cardiff.

The Queen's illness could also affect a planned two-day trip with the Duke of Edinburgh to Rome next weekend. She has been invited by Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano.

A palace spokesman said the visit was still due to take place but a decision will be made after she was assessed.

On Thursday, the Queen spent the day at Buckingham Palace where she presented honours to a number of Britain's 2012 Olympic winners.

Olympians honoured included heptathlon winner Jessica Ennis, who received the CBE and Team GB cycling boss Dave Brailsford who was knighted.

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