Queen to miss another engagement but will attend Remembrance Sunday service

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The Queen will attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, but miss the General Synod next week, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The 95-year-old monarch was ordered to rest by royal doctors just over three weeks ago, and spent a night in hospital on October 20 undergoing preliminary tests.

She returned to Windsor Castle on Tuesday after a long-planned weekend away at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

It is believed to be the first time the Queen has missed her five-yearly visit to the General Synod in its 51-year history, according to Buckingham Palace.

In 1970 – the year the Synod replaced the Church Assembly – she became the first sovereign to inaugurate and address the gathering in person.

Since then she has inaugurated and addressed the opening session every five years after diocesan elections.

The 2020 elections were postponed to this year due to the pandemic.

The Queen
A video message from the Queen was played during a welcoming reception at Cop26 on November 1 (Buckingham Palace/PA)

The Palace said: “The Queen will attend the annual Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph on Sunday 14th November.

“As in previous years Her Majesty will view the service from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building.

“Mindful of her doctors’ recent advice, the Queen has decided not to attend the General Synod Service and Opening Session on Tuesday 16th November.

“The Earl of Wessex will attend as planned.”

The Queen
The Queen at the Cenotaph in 2018 (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Palace said previously it was the Queen’s “firm intention” to attend the annual wreath-laying service in Whitehall, which falls on November 14 this year, and honours Britain’s war dead.

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 was already confirmed to be missing the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening.

The decision to miss a further engagement will mean concern for her is heightened, given her age.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: “It is encouraging that the Queen has been confirmed to be attending Remembrance Sunday.

“But how much more will we see of her for the remainder of the year?

“I very much hope she will be at Sandringham at Christmas as usual.”

The Queen will not attend the General Synod service at Westminster Abbey on November 16, nor the opening inauguration session at Church House, the Westminster headquarters of the Church of England, afterwards.

The Queen
The Queen listens to a speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Church House, after a service for the inauguration of the Tenth General Synod in 2015 (Peter Nicholls/PA)

The Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and has a strong Christian faith, and the General Synod is the church’s national assembly.

On Wednesday she conducted a Privy Council meeting by video link from Windsor, with ministers including Lord President of the Council Jacob Rees-Mogg and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi among others.

Earlier on Thursday, the Prince of Wales reassured a bystander about the Queen’s health as he met people in Brixton.

Charles was greeted by crowds as he left a branch of NatWest bank in south London after an engagement for the Prince’s Trust.

One man asked him: “Prince Charles. How is your mother?”

Charles gave him an encouraging pat on the arm, and appeared to say: “She’s all right, thank you.”

The Queen
The Queen with Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) during a reception for delegates of the Global Investment Conference at Windsor Castle on October 19 (Alastair Grant/PA)

The Queen 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.

On October 20 she pulled out of a trip to Northern Ireland and then missed the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow at the start of November.

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

She recorded a powerful speech for Cop26, calling on world leaders to “rise above” politics and achieve “true statesmanship” by tackling climate change.

In her video message, she paid tribute to her “dear late husband” the Duke of Edinburgh for his environmental awareness in raising the issue more than 50 years ago.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral
The Queen at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral seven months ago (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Philip died aged 99 seven months ago, leaving the Queen mourning her life-long companion.

The Queen no longer lays a wreath at the Cenotaph herself.

In 2017, the Prince of Wales began placing one on his mother’s behalf as she watched from the balcony of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building instead.

The change was seen as a subtle shift of head-of-state duties.

The other members of the royal family attending the Cenotaph service, along with the Queen and Charles, will be 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.

Afterwards, William will take the salute at the march-past of veteran organisations on Horse Guards Parade.

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