Queen Elizabeth Urged to Get Surgery But She Refuses: Is She Taking an Unnecessary Health Risk?

Is Queen Elizabeth’s health in danger? Though the queen reportedly requires knee surgery, she has been avoiding the operation. One medical expert believes that her condition could worsen as a result.

queen elizabeth surgery
Queen Elizabeth II | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Why the queen refuses to have surgery

According to a palace source, the queen told a friend last year that her “knees were playing up,” but has refused to have surgery because she doesn’t want to take time off for recovery.

In an interview with Express, Shamir Patel, a pharmacist and founder of Chemist 4 U, warned that the queen should reconsider this health decision because it may end up “making the symptoms worse.” Patel explained: “Of course anybody, of any age, who has undergone surgery and then experiences problems with that area should seek medical advice and guidance.”

Patel continued, noting: “It may well be the case that there is not a serious issue here, but that a check-up is needed to ensure everything is okay with the surgery that was completed 16 years ago. With any procedure comes risks, but most come during or shortly after the surgery.”

He added: “As Her Majesty’s operation was back in 2003, it could be thought that the chance of her developing complications as a result of the surgery are slim, especially because the procedure was not a knee replacement, but only to repair a torn cartilage in her right knee. However, all of this being said, this [the claim the queen’s knee is playing up] could indicate that further knee problems may arise for Her Majesty at some point.”

Should the queen seek medical attention?

Patel further warns that the queen may be “putting strain and pressure” on her injury, sharing: “The regular engagements and public appearances she completes can be tiring for anybody. If she is facing issues with her knee then putting strain and pressure on it could end up making the symptoms worse and could make medical intervention essential.”

He added: “If she is experiencing discomfort she should certainly take some rest and seek medical advice and support. At the end of the day, her health and wellbeing is the most important thing here.”

The queen underwent an operation in 2003 to remove torn cartilage from her right knee, Buckingham Palace shared, with the expectation that she would be “fully active again within a few weeks.” The surgery followed the queen suffering an injury when she twisted her knee while walking on uneven ground.

The injury appeared to act up again in 2018, as a palace source noted: “She was talking to friends at the Chelsea Flower Show and said her knees were playing up. But she is reluctant to have an op due to the time it would take to recover. She is incredibly brave.”

The insider added: “People from her and Philip’s generation battle through problems and carry on. And Her Majesty doesn’t like to cause any fuss.”

How the queen can stay healthy

In the case that the queen may be suffering from arthritis, physiotherapist Lyndsay Hirst advises the she keep her knee “mobile and strong,” with movement being the key to managing the symptoms. Hirst shared with Express, “there is good evidence that you can manage knee symptoms due to degenerative changes purely by exercising. Pain around the knee can inhibit the quad muscle from working, my concern would be that her mobility could be affected or the pain may cause her knee to give way.”

Additionally, a physiotherapist at Your Pilates Physio maintains that the queen can take precautions that may delay the need for surgery, sharing: “So long as she maintains the mobility in the joint and works to build her quad muscle, she is fine to avoid surgery. Movement is medicine! I have had many patients avoid surgery by working with exercise as a management tool.”

They added: “Knowing when to rest is also crucial, if she has a hot, swollen knee then she does herself no favors by walking on it and aggravating it, rest but keep exercising (range of movement exercises and quad strengthening) until the inflammation settles. Even using a walking stick if appropriate.”