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Queen Elizabeth leaves hospital

| Monday, March 4, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II returned home on Monday from receiving treatment for a stomach infection that prompted a brief and rare hospitalization for the 86-year-old monarch.

A smiling Elizabeth walked unassisted out of King Edward VII Hospital, bidding farewell to staff outside.

She was then driven away in a motorcade.

“The queen has left the King Edward VII's Hospital having been admitted briefly as part of the assessment of symptoms of gastroenteritis,” the palace said in a short statement issued after her release.

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach, the intestine or both, and it is generally caused either by food poisoning or the norovirus, a common winter vomiting bug that affects several hundred thousand Britons every year but which is very rarely dangerous.

The queen canceled engagements for this week because of the illness, although she could be back to work by next week. Doctors who weren't involved with Elizabeth's treatment believe she may have been hospitalized as a precaution.

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