Queen Elizabeth II has missed a remembrance service to commemorate Britain’s war dead after she sprained her back, Buckingham Palace said in a statement Sunday.
The latest health setback for Elizabeth, the U.K.’s longest-reigning monarch, meant she was forced to postpone what had been set to be her first public appearance in more than three weeks after her brief hospital stay for an unspecified illness not related to Covid-19.
The queen was “disappointed” to miss the service — one of her most important annual engagements — the statement said.
A wreath will still be laid at the Cenotaph, the U.K.’s national war memorial in Westminster, on her behalf by her son Prince Charles, the palace said.
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The queen, who served in World War II as an army driver and mechanic, attaches great importance to Remembrance Sunday, a solemn ceremony to remember the sacrifices made by fallen servicemen and women. The national service is traditionally marked by the wearing of poppies and two minutes of silence observed at 11 a.m.
It is preceded by Remembrance or Armistice Day on Nov. 11, which marks the end of World War I.
It is only the seventh time the queen has missed the Remembrance Day ceremony in her 69-year reign. On previous occasions, she was pregnant or abroad on tour, Buckingham Palace.
Last month, a statement from Buckingham Palace said the queen had a “firm intention” to take part in the Remembrance Service this year despite having to miss other engagements in the lead-up to the event.
The queen was not able to attend the COP26 climate talks, held in Scotland over the past two weeks, having been advised by her doctors to rest.
However, she has continued to work from home, doing desk-based duties, during her period of rest. She has spent most of the time at Windsor Castle, west of London, and she made a weekend visit to Sandringham, the royal family’s eastern England estate.
She will celebrate her platinum jubilee next year, marking her 70th year on the throne. She will be the first British monarch to have done so.
Yuliya Talmazan is a London-based journalist.