The British royal family have gathered to mark Remembrance Sunday in the UK (known as Veterans Day in the US), but there was one notable absence at the annual service. It was confirmed on Thursday that the Queen, who has been resting after a recent bout of ill health, would attend the service to honor fallen troops.
However, just hours before the ceremony was set to begin, Buckingham Palace announced that the 95-year-old monarch would no longer be able to attend.
“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,” the statement from Buckingham Palace read. “Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.”
Royal sources told CNN that the Queen’s decision to miss the service was unrelated to recent doctor’s advice, which saw her take more than two weeks off from public royal duties.
“On conversation with royal doctors it was decided that a back sprain is not conducive with a car journey and a period of standing,” another source told The Mirror.
Though the Queen was absent from the somber service, a collection of the most senior British royals did attend and carried out duties in her place. Prince Charles, who arrived with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London on behalf of his mother.
He also laid down one of his own, to commemorate those lost in war, before Prince William and Princess Anne followed suit, laying their own wreaths. The three royals then observed a two-minute silence, while Camilla, Kate Middleton, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex observed silently from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
They were joined by the Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra, but it was Kate who caught the eye of onlookers. Standing between Camilla and Sophie on the balcony, the future Queen consort took the place typically reserved for the Queen.
In past years, when the Queen has attended the service, she has stood on the balcony with a collection of different royals and staffers. In 2017, she stood with Prince Philip at one side and Camilla at the other, while in 2018 and 2019 the Queen placed Kate at her side.
Now, Kate has stood in the Queen’s place for the solemn occasion, wearing the same Alexander McQueen coat she donned for the 2018 service. This is the latest in a string of engagements and appearances the Queen has been forced to cancel over health concerns, sparking fears among royal watchers.
The Queen’s health was first called into question in late October, when she cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland and spent a night in hospital. Buckingham Palace revealed her overnight stay after the Queen had returned to Windsor Palace to rest and suggested she would return to public duties in time for the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland at the start of November.
However, ongoing concerns saw doctors order the monarch to continue resting, and she was unable to attend the summit in person. She sent along a video message and continue light desk duties for two weeks, in keeping with medical advice, but had always planned to attend the Remembrance Day service. It was set to be the Queen’s first public outing in almost a month, and now fans are wondering when they will see the monarch in person again.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.