Queen holds first engagement since missing Remembrance Sunday service

Festival of Remembrance

Each year, the Royal family gathers at the Royal Albert Hall for a commemorative event the night before Remembrance Sunday.

The Festival of Remembrance, in which poppy petals fall from the ceiling during a two-minute silence, is dedicated to all those from Britain and across the Commonwealth who have served in the military and sacrificed their lives.

On Oct 29, the Palace said the Queen had been advised to rest for at least a further two weeks and would miss the Festival of Remembrance. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall instead led other members of the Royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at the event.

Remembrance Sunday

It was the Queen’s “firm intention” to be at the national service of remembrance on Nov 14, the Palace said on Oct 29, with her attendance confirmed in details released on Armistice Day on Nov 11.

But less than two hours before she was due to appear, it was announced that she would no longer be present because of a sprained back.

The Queen attaches great importance to honouring the war dead. It is only the seventh time she has missed the ceremony during her reign. The other instances include four occasions when she was on overseas visits to Ghana in 1961, Brazil in 1968, Kenya in 1983 and South Africa in 1999.

She was not present during the 1959 and 1963 services because she was pregnant with her two youngest children.

The General Synod

The Queen also missed the General Synod. She was not at the Synod service at Westminster Abbey on Nov 16, nor the opening inauguration session at Church House, the Westminster headquarters of the Church of England, afterwards.

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

It is believed to be the first time she 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.

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