The Queen has strained back muscle

CHRIS BISHOP The Queen cancelled an official engagement today because of a back problem. She was due to visit Arsenal Football Club's new Emirates Stadium with the Duke of Edinburgh.

CHRIS BISHOP

The Queen cancelled an official engagement today because of a back problem.

She was due to visit Arsenal Football Club's new Emirates Stadium with the Duke of Edinburgh.

But Buckingham Palace said the 80-year-old monarch, who has just returned from a busy trip to the Baltics, had been advised by doctors to reduce her workload today.

An aide said: "Her Majesty the Queen has reluctantly agreed to cancel a visit to Arsenal football stadium today due to a strained muscle in her back.

"Doctors advised Her Majesty to reduce her workload today and will review her progress on a daily basis.

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"The strained muscle was sustained at the end of the Balmoral period and has not improved during a busy two weeks of engagements.

"The Duke of Edinburgh will still attend the Arsenal engagement.”

The Queen had been due to meet Arsenal staff, fans and players including manager Arsene Wenger and captain Thierry Henry on a tour of the new multimillion-pound development in north London.

Photographers touring the Baltics with the Queen observed that she appeared to be stooping slightly during the trip.

It is rare for the Queen to pull out of official engagements. In June last year, she cancelled three engagements after catching a bad cold and suffering from a sore throat.

In January 2003, she had keyhole surgery on her injured right knee after suffering a torn cartilage when she jarred her knee walking on rough ground during a private visit to Newmarket, Suffolk.

The Queen has audiences at the Palace today with the ambassadors of Namibia and Belgium.

Tomorrow she is due to go privately to the races at Newmarket, as well as attending a lunch with the stewards at the Jockey Club to mark her 80th birthday this year.

It is not yet known whether she will attend these engagements