he Queen missed another major event after a sprain of her back in what is a new concern for her health.
Buckingham Palace said the 95-year-old monarch had made the decision not to attend Sunday’s service at the Cenotaph “with great regret” and was reportedly deeply disappointed to have missed it.
It is understood that the queen has not received hospital treatment for her back and the injury is not related to recent medical advice for her to rest.
She was ordered to rest by royal doctors just over three weeks ago and spent a night in hospital on October 20 undergoing preparatory tests.
The Queen was to watch the service at the war memorial in central London from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building.
She would have been in public view for about 20 minutes if the format had followed previous years.
It is assumed that a back twist would make it difficult for the Queen to have endured a drive to London followed by a period of standing.
The Queen missed several other key events, including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening.
The palace announced during the week that the Queen would also miss the General Synod.
It is believed to be the first time the queen has missed her five-year visit to the General Synod in its 51-year history.
She was well enough to travel by helicopter to Sandringham on November 4 for a long-planned weekend away, where she was seen, in her trademark off-duty scarf, being driven around the estate.
On 20 October, she retired from a trip to Northern Ireland and then missed the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in early November.
The Queen performed light duties including handling her red boxes of papers and leading a handful of virtual audiences.
It is understood she hopes to continue as planned with her schedule of light official duties next week.
On Thursday, the palace said the queen would attend Sunday’s service, and earlier said it was her “firm intention” to be there.
She is the beating heart of most of the love that is in the Commonwealth, so we wish her good
The monarch, who survived World War II as a teenager, is head of the armed forces and attaches great importance to the moving service and to a commemoration of the sacrifices made by fallen soldiers and women.
She started World War II as a schoolgirl but finished it in uniform as a junior commander with the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
On Sunday morning, less than two hours before the Whitehall service, the palace said: “The Queen, twisting her back, decided this morning with great regret that she would not be able to attend today’s Memorial Sunday Service at the Cenotaph.
“Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.
“As in previous years, a wreath will be laid in the name of Her Majesty by the Prince of Wales.
“His Royal Highness, together with the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Royal Princess and Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra. will be present at the Cenotaph today as planned. ”
The Queen recorded a powerful speech for Cop26, calling on world leaders to “overcome” politics and achieve a “true statehood” in tackling climate change.
In her video message, she paid tribute to her “dear deceased husband,” the Duke of Edinburgh, for his environmental awareness of raising the issue more than 50 years ago.
Philip died at the age of 99 seven months ago, leaving the queen to mourn her lifelong companion.
The queen no longer places a wreath at the Tomb itself.
In 2017, the Prince of Wales began putting one in his mother’s name as she watched from the balcony of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building instead.
The change was seen as a subtle change of head of state tax.
The queen only missed six other Cenotaph ceremonies during her reign, on four occasions when she was on foreign visits: to Ghana in 1961, Brazil in 1968, Kenya in 1983 and South Africa in 1999.
She was not present during the 1959 and 1963 services when she was pregnant with her two youngest children.
Baroness Scotland, the secretary general of the Commonwealth, said it would be “sad” that the queen had to retire to attend the service.
Asked on Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday program whether it would be “disappointing” for many veterans not to have the monarch present, Baroness Scotland said: “Absolutely.
“The Queen is adored, right. She has shown total commitment to the Commonwealth and she is much loved.
“So, an occasion like this, to see her and pay homage to what she herself did too, because people do forget that she was an engineer, she also made her contribution.
“I think there will be a lot of sadness but everyone will wish her well, everyone will want to see her again. She is the beating heart of most of the love that is in the Commonwealth, so we wish her well. “