Queen misses Remembrance Sunday service after she sprained her back

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports on the Queen's absence at a service that she regards as one of the most significant engagements of the year

The Queen has missed the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph after she sprained her back, Buckingham Palace said.

The palace said it was with "great regret" the monarch will not be able to attend the service, which she is "disappointed" to miss.

It is understood the Queen's back sprain is not related to the recent medical advice which forced her to pull out of other engagements and visits in the last two weeks.

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.

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."

Members of the Royal Family were in attendance at the service, including Prince Charles who laid a wreath on his mother's behalf - which he has been doing since 2017 as she watched the service from the balcony of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building instead.

Prince Charles lay a wreath at the service on behalf of the Queen. Credit: PA

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship understands the Queen would not be able to make the car journey from Windsor because of her back sprain, nor could she stand for the period of time required at the Foreign Office for the Remembrance Sunday service.

The monarch was due 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 on public view for about 20 minutes.

Her attendance at the service had been 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.

The Queen has missed several events in the past few weeks, since she cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland on October 20 and was ordered to rest by her doctors.

The Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex on the balcony at the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph. Credit: PA

Buckingham Palace confirmed she had spent a night in hospital on October 20 for “preliminary investigations” but returned to Windsor the following day.

The monarch also missed the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow at the start of November and several other events, including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening.

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 headscarf, being driven around the estate.

The Queen has been carrying out light duties including dealing with her famous red boxes of papers and conducting a handful of virtual audiences.

The Queen has only missed six other Cenotaph ceremonies during her 69-year 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.

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