World

Queen Elizabeth to miss Commonwealth Service

Queen Elizabeth will miss next week's Commonwealth Service, Buckingham Palace has said, in what was due to have been the 95-year-old's first in-person public engagement since being advised to rest by her doctors.

Event was to be her 1st in-person public engagement since doctors advised rest

Queen Elizabeth is seen at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, on Feb. 16. (Steve Parsons/Pool/Reuters)

Queen Elizabeth will miss next week's Commonwealth Service, Buckingham Palace has said, in what was due to have been the 95-year-old's first in-person public engagement since being advised to rest by her doctors.

The world's oldest and longest-reigning living monarch has been little seen since she spent a night in hospital last October for an unspecified ailment, and was then instructed by her medical team to rest.

Last month, she tested positive for COVID-19, suffering mild cold-like symptoms, but was well enough to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle on Monday.

However, Buckingham Palace said her son and heir Prince Charles would act in her place at next week's annual service for the Commonwealth of 54 nations which she heads.

Queen Elizabeth greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle on Monday. (Steve Parsons/Pool/AP)

Decision not related to illness, Palace says

"After discussing the arrangements with the Royal Household, the Queen has asked The Prince of Wales to represent Her Majesty at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday," the Palace said in a statement.

"The Queen will continue with other planned engagements, including in person audiences, in the week ahead."

The decision was not related to any illness, but related to discussions about the comfort of getting the Queen to and from the service.

Shortly after she celebrated the 70th anniversary of taking the throne in February, a palace source said Elizabeth intended to return to normal duties.

Since then she has mainly carried out those duties virtually from her Windsor Castle home, but she had been expected to attend three engagements this month, including the Commonwealth Service.

Another one — a diplomatic reception at Windsor Castle — had already been postponed because the government felt the timing was inappropriate.

Queen Elizabeth appears on a screen via videolink from Windsor Castle during a virtual audience to receive Elisa Nkerabirori, ambassador from the Republic of Burundi, at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. (Yui Mok/Pool/Reuters)

Prince Harry won't return to Britain in March

The Queen is still expected to attend a service of thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years who died at age 99 last April, at London's Westminster Abbey at the end of March.

However, one royal who will not be attending that service is her grandson, Prince Harry, who now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Meghan. He has been involved in a court battle with the British government over his security during return trips to Britain with his family.

Harry's spokesperson said he would not be returning to Britain later this month, but hoped to visit the Queen as soon as possible.

The prince's relationship with the other royals has been strained since he and Meghan stepped down as senior working royals and moved to California in 2020.

now