Queen will NOT be at Commonwealth Service: Her Majesty, 95, asks Prince Charles to stand in

Queen will NOT be at Commonwealth Service: Her Majesty, 95, asks Prince Charles to stand in at Westminster Abbey on Monday – but Palace says she will hold in-person audiences next week

  • The Queen will not attend the Commonwealth Service, Buckingham Palace said
  • Prince Charles has been asked to stand in for her at Westminster Abbey Monday
  • Was the monarch’s first in-person public engagement since she was told to rest 
  • 95-year-old has been recovering from Covid-19 after testing positive last month 

The Queen will not attend Monday’s Commonwealth Service, Buckingham Palace has said. 

‘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,’ Buckingham Palace said in a statement. 

The palace gave no reason for her cancellation but said she ‘will continue with other planned engagements, including in-person audiences, in the week ahead.’ 

Monday’s service at Westminster Abbey what was to have been the 95-year-old’s first in-person public engagement since being advised to rest by her doctors and testing positive for Covid-19 on February 20.  

She has spent the last two weeks carrying out only light duties including a handful of virtual audiences. But she returned to in-person engagements this week, meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle on Monday and later meeting the head of Britain’s armed forces.   

The announcement came as Prince Harry pulled out of Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service at the end of the month – but said he ‘hopes to visit the Queen as soon as possible’. 

Queen Elizabeth (pictured, appearing on a videolink virtual audience on Tuesday, March 8) will not attend Monday's Commonwealth Service, Buckingham Palace has said

Queen Elizabeth (pictured, appearing on a videolink virtual audience on Tuesday, March 8) will not attend Monday’s Commonwealth Service, Buckingham Palace has said

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, will stand in for his mother at the Commonwealth Service on Monday, Buckingham Palace has announced

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, will stand in for his mother at the Commonwealth Service on Monday, Buckingham Palace has announced

Buckingham Palace said the 95-year-old monarch (pictured meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, March 7) would resume in-person audiences next week

Buckingham Palace said the 95-year-old monarch (pictured meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, March 7) would resume in-person audiences next week

The Queen was set to be joined at the Commonwealth Service on Monday by some 1,500 guests celebrating Britain and the international grouping based around its former colonies.  

A royal source told MailOnline: ’It’s not a great surprise that the Queen won’t be attending the Commonwealth Day service.

‘Anyone who reaches the age of 95 would find it difficult to stand for long periods of time. She has said herself that she has been finding it difficult to walk lately. She has also been recovering from Covid.

‘I don’t think anyone really expected her to attend under the circumstances. She has to take things steady. She will be disappointed but it is a sensible precaution.’ 

Senior royals attending the Commonwealth Day service include Charles’ wife Camilla, and Prince William and his wife Catherine. 

The Queen has made fewer appearances in public during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of her engagements switching to virtual events, and has rarely been seen wearing a face covering.

She first stepped out in a mask to visit the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in November 2020, six months after the outbreak of the virus.

The monarch also wore a face covering to attend the funeral of her husband Prince Philip in April 2021.  

The queen last month became the first British monarch in history to reign for 70 years. Public events for her Platinum Jubilee are planned for early June. 

The monarch, who has rarely been seen wearing a mask, wore a face covering to attend the funeral of her husband Prince Philip in April 2021

The monarch, who has rarely been seen wearing a mask, wore a face covering to attend the funeral of her husband Prince Philip in April 2021

Meanwhile Prince Harry will not be returning to the UK later this month to attend the high-profile memorial marking the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh.  

A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex today confirmed he would not be physically attending his grandfather’s Service of Thanksgiving, which is due to be held at Westminster Abbey on March 29. 

Speculation had mounted that Harry would not be in attendance after the Prince started a High Court battle over his taxpayer-funded security arrangements in the UK.

The Duke launched legal proceedings after he claimed he did not ‘feel safe’ in Britain without the protection of Scotland Yard officers, who he believes offer superior protection to privately hired bodyguards. 

Harry’s grandmother still hasn’t met the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ daughter, who was born last June in California and named Lilibet after the Queen’s childhood nickname. 

A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex today confirmed he would not be physically attending Prince Philip's Service of Thanksgiving , which is due to be held at Westminster Abbey on March 29

A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex today confirmed he would not be physically attending Prince Philip’s Service of Thanksgiving , which is due to be held at Westminster Abbey on March 29

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