Queen returns to public duties for Remembrance Sunday service

Buckingham Palace confirmed on Thursday that the 95-year-old monarch was well enough to attend.

“As in previous years, Her Majesty will watch the Worship of the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building,” the palace statement read.

The queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles – who turned 73 on Sunday – will later lay a wreath in his mother’s name, as he has done at every Memorial Day event since 2017.

Charles’s wife, Camilla, will also attend the service, as will the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne, among other family members.

After the service, Prince William will receive the greeting at the Martian Past from veteran organizations at Horse Guards Parade.

Earlier this week, Charles provided an update on his mother’s health during an engagement in south London. He reassured a curious viewer that she is “okay, thank you” in response to their question, according to several British newspapers.

It has been more than three weeks since the Queen attended a public event – when she arranged for a reception for business leaders at Buckingham Palace ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The next day, the sovereign abruptly canceled an imminent trip to Northern Ireland and spent a night in hospital for what a spokesman described at the time as “preparatory investigations”.

Since then and following her doctor’s orders, the royal household has reduced its diary significantly. She mostly rested at Windsor, undertaking some light duties by video connection and telephone.

She did manage to get away for a long-planned weekend, however, according to a royal source last week. Her mini-break was in the diary for some time, where doctors gave her full permission to go to Sandringham by helicopter, according to The Mirror newspaper. It was understood she was traveling to her estate to make preparations to welcome her family over Christmas, the report added.

Before that, Elizabeth was seen driving around her Windsor estate, in what will be a soothing sight for many royal observers.

While she may have initially been reluctant to slow down before a fortnight, she made her intention to appear at the Graveyard cemetery known by ensuring that it was mentioned in the palace’s initial proclamation.

Sunday’s commemoration is one of the most significant dates in the queen’s calendar each year. As head of the nation, part of her role is to be a unifying symbol for the country. She understands that she is expected to represent the nation, and it is a duty to which she has long devoted herself entirely.

Another reason the monarch attaches such importance to the engagement lies in her role as commander-in-chief of the British armed forces; she also lived through World War II while still a young princess. She knows that if she didn’t show up as always, her absence would be felt.

Despite securing her presence on Sunday, the queen is heeding recent advice from medical professionals to slow down. In Thursday’s statement, the palace added that: “In view of the recent advice of her physicians, The Queen has decided not to attend the General Synod Service and Opening Session on Tuesday, November 16. The Earl of Wessex will attend as planned.”

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The Queen, who is absent from the service of the General Synod, the legislative body of the Church of England, in addition to the climate conference in Glasgow, are clear signs that the monarch is likely to continue to reduce his schedule as the year approaches.

“Moving forward, especially as we go into the winter with Covid, we’ll see the queen make more zoom calls, fewer personal gatherings,” said Kate Williams, a historian and royal expert on CNN. “But I think as soon as the winter is over, she’ll gladly recover, out there meeting people. It’s just a matter of whether or not the doctors will agree with that.”

The royal family undertakes a number of commitments focused on recognizing the services of the British armed forces and celebrating the sacrifices of the nation’s soldiers and women in world wars and other conflicts.

On Saturday, Charles and Camilla led other members of the royal family at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The Duchess of Cornwall also represented the family by visiting the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Thursday for Armistice Day. Continuing a tradition begun in 1928, thousands of small wooden crosses, paper poppies and other tributes were laid in memory of fallen soldiers. The duchess looked at them before observing a two-minute silence.

She also visited the tomb of the Unknown Warrior inside the abbey and laid flowers – a custom established by the Duke of Edinburgh in past years.

CNN has launched Royal News, a new weekly broadcast that brings you the inside track about the royal family, what they do in public and what’s going on behind palace walls. Join here.

CNN’s David Wilkinson contributed to this report.


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