Ill British queen rests up in favourite castle

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was resting up at Windsor Castle on Saturday, after the 86-year-old monarch fell victim to a bout of gastroenteritis.

The sovereign had been due to attend a military celebration in the city of Swansea to mark St. David's Day, the national day of Wales.

But after coming down with gastroenteritis - an infection of the stomach and bowel whose symptoms commonly include vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration - she instead spent the weekend at Windsor Castle, west of London, as she often does.

The medieval fortress is considered home for Queen Elizabeth, while Buckingham Palace in the capital is more her working base. Britain's head of state is known for her robust health and devotion to duty, and rarely misses engagements.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said there was "no change" since a statement Friday saying the queen would not be going to Swansea.

The queen was "as usual, spending the weekend in Windsor", the spokesman said.

No decision has yet been made on the queen's trip to Rome scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, when she and her husband Prince Philip are due to meet Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano.

The queen had been due to present St David's Day leeks - a national emblem of Wales - to members of 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh, of which she is colonel-in-chief.

The ceremony went ahead as planned with the Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Byron Lewis - her personal representative in the county - undertaking the duties.

The queen had on Thursday presented honours to a group of stars from the London 2012 Olympics, including gold-medal-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis, during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

While the queen has rarely missed engagements in recent years, there have been more concerns about the health of her husband, the 91-year-old Duke of Edinburgh.

In August last year he spent five nights in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary being treated for a repeat of a bladder infection which had also seen him hospitalised for five nights in June.

Queen Elizabeth celebrated her diamond jubilee in 2012, marking her 60 years on the throne. This year further ceremonies will be held to mark the six decades since her coronation in 1953.