Queen to miss Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey

The Queen returned to in-person events on Monday when she welcomed Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau to Windsor Castle for an audience.

11 March 2022

The Queen will not attend the annual Commonwealth Day service with senior royals and instead be represented by the Prince of Wales, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The head of state, who has recently recovered from a bout of Covid, hoped to join Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the important occasion in the royal calendar.

But a Buckingham Palace spokesman 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.

Platinum Jubilee
The Queen during the recent Sandringham reception she hosted (Joe Giddens/PA)

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

The spokesman revealed another member of the royal family had contracted Covid after the Queen, Charles and Camilla all recently tested positive for the virus and later returned to royal duties.

He said: “The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will no longer attend, following the duke’s positive test for Covid.

“The Queen’s Commonwealth Day message will be distributed in the usual way.”

The service would have been the Queen’s first major public appearance since reaching her Platinum Jubilee milestone.

Audience at Windsor Castle
The Queen receives Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an audience at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA)

She returned to in-person events on Monday when she welcomed Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau to Windsor Castle for an audience.

During her meeting with Mr Trudeau, the head of state was not pictured with the walking stick she has been using of late and the pair shared a joke at the start of their meeting.

The monarch tested positive for Covid on February 20 and Buckingham Palace said at the time she was experiencing “mild cold-like symptoms”.

The Queen last met a group of people in public on February 5, the eve of reaching her Platinum Jubilee, when she hosted a reception at her Sandringham home for local charity workers, volunteers and former staff from her Sandringham estate.

Concerns were raised about the Queen’s health when she spent a night in hospital last October, missed a string of events and was advised to undertake light duties by royal doctors.

She had only returned to something approaching normal working practices just before contracting Covid-19.

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