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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK
Queen Mother leaves hospital
The Queen Mother leaving hospital
The Queen Mother has returned to Clarence House
The Queen Mother has left hospital and is said to be feeling well after a successful blood transfusion.

She was discharged from the private King Edward VII hospital, in central London, on Thursday evening after undergoing further tests.

She negotiated the hospital's three steps with the aid of a walking stick and held on to a brass handrail, before waving to the press and well-wishers assembled outside.

Media outside the hospital
The media camped outside the hospital
After taking time to thank members of the nursing staff she got into her waiting car, accompanied by lady-in-waiting, Lady Angela Oswald.

The BBC's royal correspondent Jennie Bond said the Queen Mother looked "extraordinarily well".

About 20 well-wishers braved the rain to welcome the Queen Mother back to her London residency Clarence House.

Some held placards with "Welcome Home" and "Happy 101st Queen Mum" written on them.

However, she is unlikely to have seen them as she was driven in through another entrance avoiding the crowd and a considerable media presence.

'Strong willed'

The Queen Mother hopes to make a public appearance at the gates of Clarence House on Saturday to mark her 101st birthday.

The 100-year-old was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, suffering from anaemia.

A Clarence House statement said that "the treatment has been completed satisfactorily".

She is said to have spent a comfortable night and was feeling much better after the procedure to raise her level of red blood cells.

Doctors said that while a blood transfusion was a serious procedure, especially in one so elderly, the Queen Mother should feel buoyed afterwards.

Ms Bond said despite her fragility, the Queen Mother was still determined to make an appearance at her birthday celebrations.


I am sure we all want her to make a speedy recovery and enjoy her 101st birthday

Tony Blair

And former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter said the other members of the royal family would find it difficult to persuade her to slow down.

"She is not indestructible but she has a very strong mind and a very strong will," he told BBC News 24. "There are three elements, duty, fun and people and they are the things which make up her life.

"It's all the bits in between that go to produce what we have now seen - an element of weariness, fatigue and obviously anaemia attached to it."

On Wednesday, the Queen said her mother needed "a good rest more than anything else".

The Queen, the Prince of Wales and other senior members of the Royal Family have kept in close touch by telephone but had not visited the hospital.

Risk

The Queen Mother was diagnosed with anaemia - a shortage of red blood cells - when she underwent tests after suffering mild heat exhaustion on Tuesday.

She is said to have complained of "feeling wretched" and feared she had a virus.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, on an official visit to Mexico, welcomed news that the Queen Mother had left hospital.

"The Queen Mother is a hugely popular figure, not just in Britain but around the world," he said.

"I am sure everyone is delighted she is able to leave hospital. I am sure we all want her to make a speedy recovery and enjoy her 101st birthday."

Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn urged her friend to rest
Well-wishers sent messages of support to the hospital, among them "Forces' sweetheart" singer Dame Vera Lynn who urged her old friend to "take it easy".

A transfusion for someone of the Queen Mother's great age is not without risk.

The blood transfusion for the Queen Mother was a long process which went on late into the night. She would also have undergone other tests to establish whether the anaemia masked any other condition.

The Queen Mother's health has been excellent for most of her life but in recent years she has suffered some age-related problems.

She had two hip replacements in the 1990s and last November damaged her collarbone in a fall at Clarence House, her London home.

Her eyesight has also deteriorated.

Doctors' advice will be sought over her plans to take a holiday in Scotland next week which may need to be altered.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jennie Bond
"She'll now need to take things easy"
See also:

02 Aug 01 | UK
Queen Mother 'needs a rest'
01 Aug 01 | Medical notes
Anaemia
27 Jul 00 | Scotland
Queen mother tribute in pictures
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