Queen's illness: Concern behind the castle walls
March 3, 2013 -- Updated 2028 GMT (0428 HKT)
- Buckingham Palace are putting a brave face on queen's illness
- But behind the castle walls there is cause for concern
- Advisers are acutely aware there will come a point when she has to slow down
- Duke and Duchess of Cornwall have been creating a more regal air lately
Editor's note: Mark Saunders is a longtime reporter on the royal family, beginning his career at his hometown newspaper, The Windsor Express, where he became royal correspondent and covered more than 200 official royal engagements. He is the author of several books on the royals.
London (CNN) -- In public Buckingham Palace are putting on a brave face, insisting the queen's illness is little more than a stomach bug and her hospitalization merely a "precautionary measure."
But behind the castle walls there is cause for concern.
The main worry is dehydration, quite common for anyone suffering from gastroenteritis; usually it is treated by replacing lost bodily fluids with water.
Five things to know about gastroenteritis
Mark Saunders discusses Queen's illness
Queen Elizabeth II, now 86, has held her throne since the age of 25. Pictured, Elizabeth arrives at a garden reception at Government House in Auckland, New Zealand, in February 2002.
Photos: Queen Elizabeth II
But the queen is finding it difficult to keep any fluids down.
For this reason she was taken to the Edward 7th hospital in London, the first time she has been in hospital for 10 years, where she is currently hooked up to an IV drip.
Buckingham Palace have canceled all the queen's official engagements for the next week, including a high profile visit to Rome.
Senior advisers have spoken of their concerns to the Prince of Wales and it is believed the queen, who is 87 next month, will be asked to take things easier over the coming months.
Though the queen is always described as being in "robust" health, her advisers are acutely aware there will come a point when she has to slow down.
For this reason the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall have been taking on far more high profile engagements recently as they prepare for the day they will formally replace the queen.
A source inside Windsor Castle said: "Charles and Camilla have subtlety created a more regal air over the past year and are beginning to look, and act, like a King and Queen in waiting. Behind them the ever-popular William and Catherine have now progressed to being senior members of the royal family.
"If the queen is convinced to cut back on the amount of engagements she carried out she will do so with the knowledge the family 'firm' is well taken care of behind her."
The queen who hates to make a fuss
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Saunders.
Part of complete coverage on
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1704 GMT (0104 HKT)
Google's acquisition of a military robot maker prompts Douglas Rushkoff to ask how the deal fits the company's value of "don't be evil."
After their leader Kim Jong Un had his own uncle executed, how do ordinary North Koreans feel?
December 21, 2013 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
Despite wanting to be a great power, India often fails to behave like one, writes Jeremy Carl.
December 21, 2013 -- Updated 0035 GMT (0835 HKT)
What scope do western governments have to influence change for the better?
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Extremist attacks of the kind that claimed the life of UK soldier Lee Rigby do not come out of thin air, analysts say.
December 20, 2013 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
From tycoon bankruptcies to billion-dollar takeovers, 2013 has been a roller coaster year.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
Which has been the craziest year in travel history? It just could be 2013.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Kickstarter is one of the world's largest crowdfunding websites -- over 53,000 projects have been born.
December 21, 2013 -- Updated 1719 GMT (0119 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
December 20, 2013 -- Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember. Look back at the photographs that chronicled 2013.
December 21, 2013 -- Updated 0910 GMT (1710 HKT)
Never mind the baubles -- one of these Christmas trees is made of macaroons.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1203 GMT (2003 HKT)
What do you need to map a billion stars? A billion-pixel camera certainly helps.
Today's five most popular stories