The Queen has pulled out of the annual Holy Day church service “with regret”, Buckingham Palace has announced.
In a first for her reign, the monarch, who turns 96 this month, will instead be represented by Prince Charles and Camilla at the event, which will be held on April 14.
The service will take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic.
It comes after the Queen, who suffers from widely publicized mobility issues, retired from Commonwealth service last month amid concerns about her health.
His decision not to attend was understood to be linked to concerns about his comfort in getting to and from Westminster.
It was also feared she would miss Prince Philip’s memorial at the end of March before a ‘military style’ plan was drawn up to ensure she could arrive comfortably.
In a first for her reign, the 95-year-old monarch will instead be represented by Prince Charles at the event, which will be held on April 14. (Pictured: Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Eugenie of York hold bouquets as they attend the traditional Royal Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel on April 18, 2019)
The head of state, who now uses a cane and a wheelchair, has done business on Zoom (pictured) from Windsor Castle in recent months
There were also fears the Queen would miss Prince Philip’s memorial service at the end of March before a ‘military style’ plan was drawn up to ensure she could arrive comfortably. (Picture: An emotional monarch during Philip’s service)
The Holy Day service is a tradition that dates back to 600 AD
Every year on Maundy Thursday, the Queen hands out special money to pensioners at a service that commemorates Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper.
Maundy Money recipients are nominated by their local dioceses for contributions to their local church and community.
Due to being canceled last year amid the Covid pandemic, the money was instead blessed at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace, before being sent to recipients with a letter from the Queen.
This meant recipients could still receive their cash and Maundy handbags, and instead mark the special occasion from home.
The holy service takes place every year on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. The Queen visited various cathedrals and abbeys to deliver gifts to local people.
During the service, the Queen distributes gifts according to the number of years she has lived: for example, last year Her Majesty was 95 years old, so the Queen distributed 95 pence of holy silver at 95 men and 95 women in recognition of their contribution to the community and the church.
The service dates back to AD 600 and these special coins have kept much the same shape since 1670. They still bear the portrait of Her Majesty designed for her coronation in 1953, even though the image on ordinary coinage in circulation has since been modified four times.
Each Maundy Money recipient receives two small leather purses from the Queen, one red and one white.
The first contains a small amount of ordinary currency which symbolizes the Sovereign’s gift for food and clothing. This year the coins are specially created to commemorate Her Majesty’s 95th birthday and the 50th anniversary of Decimal Day.
The second purse contains coins up to the value of the Sovereign’s age. Coins are legal tender, but recipients normally prefer to keep them as keepsakes.
The monarch used a stick as she walked to and from her seat – supported by her disgraced son the Duke of York – to give her ‘strength and stay’ Philip the last farewell he had wanted .
Her Majesty’s attendance was not confirmed until two hours before the start of the event.
After a harrowing service limited to 40 minutes, she was escorted back the 22 miles to Windsor Castle after what was her first major public engagement in nearly six months.
The head of state, who recovered from Covid in February and occasionally uses a wheelchair, has also conducted much of his business on Zoom from Windsor Castle in recent months.
Next week’s event is a traditional Church of England ceremony held on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, and celebrates ordinary citizens who have contributed to their local church or community.
They are given ceremonial silver coins, known as “Maundy Money”, to thank them for their service.
It is understood the Queen was unable to commit to the event and with the printing of the order of service she was keen to ensure arrangements were confirmed to avoid any misunderstandings or the day being overshadowed .
The Palace said in a statement: “Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will represent Her Majesty The Queen at the Royal Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor on Thursday 14 April.
“The Prince and Duchess will be greeted by the Dean of Windsor, the Very Reverend David Conner KCVO and the Lord High Almoner, the Very Reverend Dr John Inge.
“Their Royal Highnesses will receive bouquets at the start of the service, during which the Prince of Wales will distribute Maundy’s money.
“After the service, the Prince and Duchess will proceed to the West Steps where an official photograph will be taken of Their Royal Highnesses and the Maundy Royal Party.”
The Queen has made fewer public appearances during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of her engagements moving to virtual events.
Ahead of Philip’s memorial service, she had last met a group of people in public on February 5, the day before her platinum jubilee, when she hosted a reception at her Sandringham home for local charity workers, volunteers and former staff at his Sandringham estate.
Concerns were first raised about the Queen’s health when she spent a night in hospital last October, missed a series of events and was advised to undertake light duties by royal physicians.
In November, she pulled out of hosting world leaders at a United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow and canceled an appearance at the Remembrance Day parade due to back pain.
She had only returned to something close to normal working practice just before contracting Covid-19 in February.
A royal expert claimed this week that the Queen will be handling ‘more engagements from her living room’ due to her ‘mobility issues’.
Speaking to the Telegraph, royal expert Camilla Tominey said: ‘The diary has become quite nimble royal equipment in the sense that it’s up to the Queen in the morning what she can and can’t do… People will come to the queen rather than go home.
The 95-year-old monarch used a stick as she walked to and from her seat, supported by her disgraced son the Duke of York, to give her ‘strength and stay’ Philip the final farewell that he had wanted
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Queen had decided to make Windsor Castle her permanent residence and primary residence.
The expert explained: ‘The monarchy is changing before our eyes and that’s probably not a bad thing.
“What we believe is that the Queen does not have health issues but mobility issues – she cannot stand for long periods of time or walk long distances and so accommodations are being made. ”
Camilla continued: “I think the palace is dealing with it much like it did when the Duke of Edinburgh retired and he was able to say which engagements he did or did not want to attend within a very short time. short.”
The royal expert then made a prediction about the Queen’s future engagements, saying: ‘I think we’re going to see more of the Queen in situ, and she might get to where she needs to be in private and then be photographed on square.
“That being said, we had some great shots last week of an audience in their own living room. This is going to happen more frequently now.