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Sunday, 6 February, 2000, 15:56 GMT
Queen Mother 'feeling better'

queen and queen mother The Queen Mother attended church at Christmas

The Queen Mother is feeling "very much better" after being house-bound with a cold, the Queen has told well wishers.

Concerns for her health were raised recently when she cancelled an engagement after catching a cold. She had become ill while spending the Christmas and New Year holiday at the Royal Sandringham estate near King's Lynn in Norfolk.

The Queen Mother, who will be 100 in August, missed an annual visit to a Women's Institute meeting and has not attended a church service since.

However, the Queen has told retired local government administrator Colin Edwards, 59, that her mother's condition had improved greatly.

Best wishes

Mr Edwards, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, spoke to the Queen after she and the Duke of Edinburgh attended church at West Newton, near Sandringham on Sunday.

"I asked the Queen how Her Majesty The Queen Mother was feeling and passed on my best wishes, said Mr Edwards.

"The Queen said, 'She's very much better, thank you'."

Mr Edwards, an avid royal watcher, was one of the last members of the public to meet the Queen Mother before she fell ill.

He staged an exhibition of 100 photographs he had taken of the Queen Mother during royal visits over the past 15 years.

'Twinkling eyes'

The Queen Mother paid a private visit to the exhibition at a library in Dersingham, near Sandringham, on 25 January - the day before it was announced she was ill.

"She looked very well when I saw her," Mr Edwards said. "That is why I was so shocked to hear that she had a cold the following day.

"She looked fine. Very happy. Her blue eyes were twinkling. Her complexion was fine."

The Queen spent around 45 minutes at church on Sunday - the 48th anniversary of her accession to the throne and of the death of her father, George VI.

Canon George Hall, who conducted the service, gave thanks for the reign of the king during prayers.

The Queen, who was wearing the same pillbox style tangerine hat she wore during the New Year's Eve celebrations at the Millennium Dome, presented prizes to local school children before returning to Sandringham.

The Queen Mother returned to her home in London late last week.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are due to return to Buckingham Palace in the next few days.

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See also:
11 Nov 99 |  UK
Queen Mother leads nation's remembrance
25 Dec 99 |  UK
Royals join for Christmas service
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