Queen retires from Cenotaph Remembrance Sunday service after a twist back

She was unable to attend Cop26, where she hoped to pressure delegates on the urgent need for action on the environment, and had already been confirmed to miss the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday.

The Queen always emphasized her gratitude and respect to military veterans and their families.

Living through World War II itself, she in recent years has found herself among the oldest of those participating in the Remembrance Sunday service, leading tributes from a balcony overlooking the Tomb.

Until the age of 91, she took off a wreath, only handing over that symbolic duty to the Prince of Wales in 2017.

The Queen had previously missed the Cenotaph service four times since she had been abroad on tours – in 1961, 1968, 1983 and 1999, and twice before the births of her two younger children.

Buckingham Palace said it was the Queen’s “firm intention” to attend the annual wreath service in Whitehall.

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.

It happens because she missed several other events after royal doctors ordered to rest a little over three weeks ago, including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening.

She spent a night in hospital on October 20 undergoing preparatory tests.

Reaction to the queen’s retreat

Alok Sharma, president of the UN Cop26 climate summit and former trade secretary, wished the queen “all the best” after hearing that she would miss the Remembrance Day service in central London due to a twisted back.

Speaking to Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday program, Mr Sharma said: “Obviously I’m very sorry to hear that, but I just got the news at the same time as you.

“As I understand it, this is precautionary and, of course, we wish Her Majesty all the best.”

Baroness Scotland, the secretary general of the Commonwealth, said it would be “sad” that the queen had to retire to attend the Sunday Memorial Service.

The companion said “everyone will wish her well” after Buckingham Palace announced the 95-year-old had sprained her back.

Put it on Sky News ’Trevor Phillips On Sunday program that it would be“ disappointing ”for many veterans not to have the monarch able to attend, Baroness Scotland said:“ Absolutely.

“The Queen is adored, rightly so. She has shown full commitment to the Community and she is much loved.

“So, an opportunity like this, to see her and pay tribute to what she herself did, because people 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.”

Added affection from this year’s service

The event will receive further emotion by returning to a pre-pandemic number of participating veterans and military personnel, as well as spectators.

The prime minister will be among senior politicians and members of the royal family laying a wreath at the war memorial in central London for the National Remembrance Service.

Boris Johnson said it was time to “come together to remember those who sacrificed everything for service to our country.”

He said: “It is a sacred ceremony that has lasted for more than a century because we know the unpayable debt we owe to those brave soldiers and women.

“We know that for our tomorrow they gave theirs today.

“And we know that here at home and around the world, thousands of men and women in uniform still stand ready to defend our unity and our way of life, our values, and at a cost few of us would be willing to pay.”

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “a time for all of us to stop, reflect, and remember those millions of people from Britain and the Commonwealth who kept us safe through their service and sacrifice.”

He added: “Our way of life, our values ​​and our democracy are hard to fight for end of life and life-changing sacrifice.

“It is that sacrifice that has ensured that we can enjoy the freedoms with which we live every day and which we must never forget.”

The Whitehall Memorial Service will return to normal this year, after the coronavirus pandemic limited the number of veterans and military and closed the ceremony to the public last year.

Hundreds of soldiers and women will line up around the Cenotaph, and nearly 10,000 veterans will march past the war memorial, watched by large crowds.

The Prince of Wales will place a wreath on the top step of the Cenotaph on behalf of the queen as she watches from the balcony of a government building, as in previous years.

Chief of the defense staff general Sir Nick Carter said it was an “honor” to place a wreath at the Tombstone on behalf of “all those who lost their lives in the service of our country”.

He said: “They died to protect the free and open way of life we ​​enjoy today.

“On Remembrance Sunday all members of the armed forces will consider this legacy, regardless of where and under what circumstances they serve, certain knowing that they now have a responsibility to uphold the values ​​and norms their predecessors upheld.”

The Royal British Legion (RBL), Britain’s largest charity supporting the armed forces community, which is celebrating its centenary this year, said the march would include hundreds of young people from the Cadets, Guides and Scouts.

“It is essential that the Memory torch is passed on to younger generations and we are proud that many will attend along with veterans of all ages,” said Bob Gamble, the RBL’s deputy director for memorial events.

He said: “For 100 years the Royal British Legion has led the nation in Memory to ensure that the memory of those who served and sacrificed our name is preserved.

“Remembrance is part of the fabric of society, reminding us of our common history, and today it continues to unite people from all backgrounds, communities and generations.”

The RBL sold poppies, a common sight on the Western Front that became a symbol of memory for those killed in the First World War, in the build-up to the day as part of its annual Poppy Appeal.

A two-minute national silence will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday to remember those who fought in past conflicts and paid the final sacrifice.

Ceremonies will also take place at military memorials across the country, after being downsized last year, when the RBL advised the public to celebrate in the distance by showing a poppy in its window.

Meanwhile, members of the royal family and the Prime Minister joined a crowd of thousands to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in conflict at the annual Festival of Remembrance on Saturday night.

On a break with previous years, the Queen did not attend the event, which takes place at the Royal Albert Hall.


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