Queen Elizabeth II has a “sprained back”, Buckingham Palace said, and had to miss Sunday’s Remembrance service in London – her first planned public appearance since resting on medical advice.
The ceremony honouring fallen troops is close to the monarch’s heart and her absence will deepen concerns over her health after she stepped back on medical advice at the end of last month and spent a night in hospital undergoing unspecified tests.
She then resumed “light duties”, but pulled out of a scheduled attendance at the UN climate change summit in Glasgow after being advised to rest.
“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,” a palace statement said.
“Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.”
Her son Prince Charles placed a wreath on her behalf, as in previous years.
It is only the seventh time she has missed the service in almost 70 years on the throne, with the previous six due to either pregnancy or foreign visits.
A two-day trip to Northern Ireland was also shelved as was her appearance Tuesday at the General Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England which she heads.
The 95-year-old was due to view Sunday’s annual service in London from a balcony, as she has done since 2017, when she handed over some duties to younger members of the family.
Royal expert Penny Junor said it was “very sad for the queen because this is the one event in the year that she really, really likes to be at.
“The public will be very sad and anxious to hear of yet another setback but clearly she must follow the advice and get herself well.”
Queen Elizabeth II succeeded her father, King George VI, in 1952 and next year is her Platinum Jubilee, marking her 70th year on the throne.
She returned to her Windsor Castle residence, west of London, on Tuesday, after a long-planned weekend away at her Sandringham estate in eastern England.
The palace has previously said it was her “firm intention” to attend Sunday’s Remembrance event, which brought together veterans, their families and political leaders.
The queen, who also pulled out of the separate Festival of Remembrance event on Saturday, is head of the Armed Forces and served as a mechanic during World War II.
Royal Navy officer Ben Shread said: “It would be nice if the boss was here.
“If there is a reason she is not here it must be a very serious one. We all wish her well.”
Royal aides have blamed a busy recent schedule that had left her “exhausted” but she was recently seen driving in the grounds of Windsor.
She took a step back from work on Oct 20, the day after a reception at Windsor Castle where she chatted with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US billionaire Bill Gates.
She spent the following night in hospital, her first since 2013, where Buckingham Palace said she underwent “preliminary examinations”.
The monarch had appeared in strong form in public until recently, despite the loss of her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip in April.
She had attended official engagements almost daily, similar to her pre-pandemic workload, since returning from her traditional summer holiday in Balmoral, Scotland.
But she made the headlines recently after being seen walking with a cane, and The Sun tabloid reported she had stopped walking her corgis in recent days.
The queen is reported to no longer ride her horses, a keen passion, although she plans to be back in the saddle again after resting. She is also believed to have given up drinking alcohol.
At a public event in Brixton, south London, on Thursday, her eldest son and heir was asked by one onlooker: “Prince Charles, how is your mother?”