A Royal Case of Covid

Rachel Levy Lesser
5 min readSep 13, 2022

Covid finally caught up to me last week now two and half years and three shots into this global pandemic. I woke up last Wednesday morning with a sore throat, and by the time I tested positive in the late afternoon, I had full blown body aches, a headache, congestion and a low fever. I got into bed early that evening and slept straight through until Thursday morning.

I woke up to a slew of texts on my phone, friends and family inquiring on how I was feeling and a few worried about how Queen Elizabeth II was doing. I turned on the television in my bedroom to learn from Mika on Morning Joe that the queen was “under medical supervision.” This was it, I thought in my Covid induced sweaty haze and fatigue. I took off my fleece which I had slept in for the last 14 hours and texted my husband who had taken up residence in his office/our guest room on the first floor of our house.

Is the queen going to die today? I typed. No response. He was either on a work call or shuttling our daughter off to high school. I heard updates in fits and spurts from Mika and Joe and then Katty Kay from the BBC plus analyses from presidential historians John Meacham and Michael Beschloss. The news then turned to repeating images of the younger royals flying/driving/being driven to Balmoral Castle in Scotland to see the queen/their mum/granny. She may already be dead, I remembered thinking to myself as I felt my heavy eyelids close pulling the covers back up over my remaining two layers of long sleeve pajamas.

I woke up mid-day to the official news. Queen Elizabeth II died. I saw pictures and videos of the framed piece of paper announcing her death from every vantage point on the gate outside of Buckingham Palace. I saw flashes of photos of the queen throughout the decades. It struck me how young, almost childlike she looked at her coronation seven decades ago, in between my doses of Tylenol and Musinex.

Then my phone really blew up. Friends wanted to know how I felt, with the Covid and all, but really how I felt about the queen being gone. I am a royal watcher, but more so a queen watcher. Yes I woke up super early that July morning in 1981 like most little girls around the world to watch Princess Diana marry Prince Charles, and in later years I watched Kate marry William and Meghan say I do to Harry. But really, my focus has been on the queen.

I do of course recognize the problems in the very existence of a modern day monarchy and in British Colonialism to say nothing of the…