Queen Elizabeth II sprains back, misses Remembrance Day ceremony

Queen Elizabeth II has sprained her back and will miss a remebrance service to commemorate Britain’s war dead, Buckingham Palace said in a statement Sunday.

The latest health setback for the U.K.’s longest-reigning monarch meant she was forced to postpone what was set to be her first public appearance more than three weeks after her brief hospital stay for an unspecified illness, not related to Covid-19.

The queen was “disappointed” to miss the service — one of her most important annual engagements — the statement said.

A wreath will be still be laid at the Cenotaph, the U.K.’s national war memorial in Westminster, on her behalf by her son Prince Charles, the palace added.

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The queen served in World War II as a army driver and mechanic, and attaches great importance to Remembrance Sunday, a solemn ceremony to remember the sacrifices made by fallen servicemen and women. The national service is traditionally marked by the wearing of poppies and a two-minute silence observed at 11 a.m.

It is preceded by Remembrance or Armistice Day on Nov. 11, which marks the end of World War I

This is only the seventh time that the queen has missed the Remembrance Day ceremony during her 69-year reign. On previous occasions she was pregnant or abroad on tour, Buckingham Palace told NBC News.

Last month, a statement from Buckingham Palace said the queen had a “firm intention” to take part in the Remembrance Service this year, despite having to miss other engagements in the lead up to the event. 

The queen was not able to attend the COP26 climate talks, held in Scotland over the past two weeks having been advised by her doctors to rest.

However, she has continued to work from home, doing desk-based duties, during her period of rest. She has spent most of the time at Windsor Castle, west of London, and made a weekend visit to Sandringham, the royal family’s eastern England estate.

The royal will celebrate her platinum jubilee next year, marking her 70th year on the throne. She will be the first British monarch to do so.

Associated Press contributed.

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