The Queen has sprained her back and will not attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in London, Buckingham Palace said, adding she is ‘disappointed’ to miss the event.
Buckingham Palace said the 95-year-old monarch made the decision on Sunday morning ‘with great regret’ and is ‘disappointed’ to miss the event – the first time she has not been in attendance in 22 years.
Queen Elizabeth had planned on attending the Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in London on Sunday.
It would have marked her first in-person public engagement since she was advised to rest following a night in hospital last month.
It is understood the Queen’s back sprain is unrelated to her doctor’s recent advice to rest.
Buckingham Palace said: ‘The Queen, having sprained her back, has decided this morning with great regret that she will not be able to attend today’s Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph
‘Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.
‘As in previous years, a wreath will be laid on Her Majesty’s behalf by the Prince of Wales.
‘His Royal Highness, along with the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal 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 is said to be deeply disappointed to miss the service – which she regards as one of the most significant engagements of the year – and she hopes to continue as planned with her schedule of light official duties next week.
The monarch, who served in World War II as a army driver and mechanic, was due to watch the service at the war memorial in central London from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building.
Her attendance at the service was confirmed by the palace on Thursday after she was ordered to rest by royal doctors just over three weeks ago and spent a night in hospital on October 20 undergoing preliminary tests.
The palace had previously said it was the Queen’s ‘firm intention’ to attend the annual wreath-laying service in Whitehall.
It has been confirmed the Queen sprained her back and will not attend the Remembrance service at the Cenotaph in London
TUESDAY — The Queen is photographed leaving Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate to return to Windsor by helicopter
Veterans and servicemen gather on The Mall before a service is held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday
Thousands of people honour the war dead by gathering at the Cenotaph to lay wreaths and observe two minutes silence
Pictured: Veterans and servicemen gather on The Mall before a service is held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in Westminster
The Queen had planned to watch the memorial event (pictured) from the balcony of the foreign office this morning
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street, ahead of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in London
Labour leader Keir Starmer and chancellor Rishi Sunak are pictured at Downing Street ahead of the Remembrance event
Pictured: a large crowd has gathered ahead of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London
The monarch, who lived through the Second World War as a teenager, is head of the armed forces and attaches great importance to the poignant service and to commemorating the sacrifices made by fallen servicemen and women.
She started the Second World War as a schoolgirl but ended it in uniform as a junior commander with the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
The Queen has missed several other events, including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening.
She returned to Windsor Castle on Tuesday after a long-planned weekend away at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
The Queen has only missed six other Cenotaph ceremonies during her reign: on four occasions when she was on overseas 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 as she was pregnant with her two youngest children.
Pictured: Crowds gather ahead of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, this morning
Former Prime Ministers David Cameron and Theresa May have been pictured at the Remembrance event this morning
Former prime minister Tony Blair (centre) and Nadhim Zahawi (right) pictured ahead of the Remembrance Sunday event
The world’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch went to hospital for ‘preliminary investigations’ into an unspecified ailment, and has since missed events such as the COP26 climate conference and a festival to remember the nation’s war dead on Saturday evening.
While the queen has been photographed greeting dignitaries online, the palace had said the 95-year-old was determined to appear in person at the Cenotaph where members of the royal family will join leading members of the government, military and veterans to commemorate those who lost their lives in conflict.
Held on the nearest Sunday to November 11 to recall the end of World War One, the sight of the queen at the annual event is one of the defining images of her 69-year reign – head bowed, wearing black and displaying a red poppy.
Despite earlier health concerns, the Palace had confirmed the Queen would attend the annual Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph.
On Sunday it had been planned that she would watch the service from the balcony of the Foreign Office in central London while her son and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles lays a wreath on her behalf.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the family group, which also included Prince William, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra at the Remembrance event on Saturday night
Pictured: Members of the Royal Family took their seats at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall last night
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were amongst the royals who joined the Prince of Wales in the Royal Box on Saturday
Elizabeth was due to appear at the event for the first time since her husband of more than seven decades, Prince Philip, died earlier this year.
The Queen was forced to cancel a two-day visit to Northern Ireland at the last minute three weeks ago after being ordered to rest by doctors following a slew of public engagements.
It later emerged that she had been in hospital overnight for ‘preliminary investigations’, although palace official declined to comment on what these might be. She has since been ordered to rest for ‘at least’ another fortnight.
But the monarch had stated that it was her ‘firm intention’ to be at the Cenotaph for the traditional Remembrance Sunday event, one of the most ‘sacred’ events in her annual calendar.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the diminished family group at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London last night but the Queen was not in attendance.
They were joined by Prince William, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
Military veterans line up ahead of the march past for the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London
Pictured: Military marching band’s uniforms are seen in detail during the annual National Service of Remembrance
Veterans from the Chelsea Pensioners attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London
Veterans from the Chelsea Pensioners cross Horse Guards Parade to attend the Remembrance ceremony at the Cenotaph
The Queen had spent last weekend at Sandringham while she has some time off amid her determination to be fit for Remembrance Sunday.
Last month, she was secretly taken to the private King Edward VII Hospital in London. Royal aides have only said that the trip was for ‘preliminary investigations’ with the exact reason for the trip still unknown.
At the time, the Prime Minister said that the Queen was in good spirits when they held their regular weekly audience.
Doctors will reassess the monarch at the end of her recommended fortnight of rest, with it likely that her diary could be affected for some time to come.
The Queen’s eagerness to get out and about as soon as possible will ultimately be overshadowed by what her doctors think is best.
This will leave other senior royals, especially the Prince of Wales, having to attend more engagements on her behalf whenever possible.
Concerns about the Queen, who has recently been seen using a walking stick at events for the first time, were triggered last month when she cancelled a two-day tour to Northern Ireland.
The decision came just hours before she was due to fly and despite aides saying she stayed at Windsor Castle she was later whisked to hospital for her first overnight stay for eight years.
On Monday last week the Queen was photographed driving close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire in a green estate car, wearing a signature headscarf and a pair of sunglasses.
During her message to world leaders at Cop26 last Monday, the Queen issued a powerful plea to them over the climate crisis, saying they should put aside division and act now for the sake of ‘our children’.