Queen Elizabeth II Speaks With Boris Johnson Amid COVID-19 Diagnosis

A royal source tells ET that the queen held her weekly audience with Johnson by telephone amid her positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Queen Elizabeth II is still recovering after testing positive for the coronavirus -- but that hasn't stopped her from performing her royal duties.

Buckingham Palace said that the queen held her weekly audience by telephone with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday afternoon. While the queen usually meets with Johnson in person, she opted to have their weekly meeting over the phone due to her COVID-19 diagnosis.

A royal source tells ET, "There were no other planned engagements in today’s diary, though for transparency purposes, there had been a planned in-person audience, but as Her Majesty has been diagnosed with COVID that was canceled on Monday as it would have broken guidelines to have gone ahead."

The virtual meeting comes just one day after the queen canceled a slew of pre-planned virtual events.

"As Her Majesty is still experiencing mild cold-like symptoms she has decided not to undertake her planned virtual engagements today, but will continue with light duties," the Palace said in a statement on Tuesday. "Further engagements to be decided in due course."

ET previously learned that the monarch is both vaccinated and boosted and is "following appropriate guidelines."

The news of the queen's diagnosis came less than a week after Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall tested positive. That diagnosis was announced four days after her husband, Prince Charles, had tested positive as well.

Charles, 73, had recently spent time with his mother two days before his positive test. A source at the time told ET that the two met after she returned from Sandringham. According to the source, the queen was not displaying any COVID symptoms at the time, and the Palace was monitoring the situation. 

The queen's COVID diagnosis and her recent health issues have been cause for concern for the palace, but ET's royal expert, Katie Nicholl, says her return to "light duties" is "very encouraging."

"I have spoken to the senior palace aides who assure me that the queen is in good spirits and she's suffering, I'm told, cold like symptoms, and that is why she chose to cancel a recent virtual audience," Nicholl explained. "I think anyone that's got a cold and a runny nose and just not feeling a hundred percent, the last thing that they want to do is be on camera and have an audience, and of course when the queen's doing it, it's watched by many many people around the world ,so I do not get the impression that there's a real cause for concern, I think cautious is probably the word that's being used much more so than alarm."

"There is no sense of panic or real concern for the queen, obviously just making sure they're keeping an eye on things at the moment," she continued. "It is cold like symptoms, but I'm told that the queen is at her desk, she is doing light duties, she is reading her government papers ,she's got her red boxes being delivered to her daily, so, I take that as an indication that she's not quite feeling up to being on camera understandably so, but absolutely up to doing light duties and some desk-based work, so, I think that's all very encouraging."

As for the coming days, the queen is continuing to follow government guidelines as she recovers from the virus.

"I am told that the queen will be following government guidelines, her quarters will be advising her as for those government guidelines, which are changing as we speak," Nicholl said. "Isolation is now going to be struck out of Britain, and it will, I suppose, be down to the queen, and the team of medics, who are courteous to just make sure that most importantly, that she is safe and feeling well, and those around her are also feeling well. They don't want any cross infection taking place, regardless, I think, of restrictions being lifted here in the U.K. I would expect there would still be a degree of caution surrounding the queen just because of her age and vulnerability."

As far as rumblings of the long-running monarch's declining health, Nicholl said any reports of the queen's death are "fake news" and that when that day does come, the Palace will be the one to make the official statement.

"I am sure that many people will have seen rumors and fake news on the internet, but the Palace has not commented on any of this, they are not going to give any oxygen to this publicity, or again to this fake news," the London-based journalist maintained. "But I think everyone can rest safe in the knowledge that when the moment comes, it will absolutely be clear that this absolutely has happened, that this is not fake news. The Palace will make an official statement and the news will filter out very quickly."