Concern for Queen as she misses Cenotaph

Unionists have sent their well wishes to the Queen after she was forced to cancel another event in her schedule due to ill health.

By Graeme Cousins
Monday, 15th November 2021, 7:56 am
Queen Elizabeth II during the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London in 2020.
Queen Elizabeth II during the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London in 2020.

The nation’s anxiety over the Queen’s health will be heightened as the monarch suffered another setback and missed the Remembrance Sunday service, a royal author has said.

Those concerns are shared in Northern Ireland where the Queen had been due to attend a Northern Ireland Centenary church service in Armagh and an event in Hillsborough to formalise the village’s royal status on October 21.

The Queen had to cancel after reluctantly accepting medical advice to rest.

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Message from Queen Elizabeth II is seen in detail on a wreath laid on her behalf by the Duke of Cambridge during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London. Picture date: Sunday November 14, 2021.

It is understood the Queen’s back sprain which forced her to miss the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph is unrelated to her doctor’s recent advice to rest.

DUP MLAs Edwin Poots said: “Obviously we were all disappointed when she had to withdraw from coming to Northern Ireland.

“We entirely understand that she is a lady of 95-years of age and quite a remarkable lady for those years.

“There will be points when maybe she just isn’t as strong as she would be otherwise, but we look forward to her resuming her duties once again. I wish her well for a full recovery.

“She is a wise lady to take her medical advice and we’d all be wise to do that.”

Danny Kinahan from the UUP said: “I think we should be very grateful for all she has done, she’s been fantastic, and give her time to get better.

“I wish her all the very best and hope she’s back and that we don’t probably work her too hard.”The prime minister said the Queen was “very well”, during a Downing Street press conference yesterday evening.

He said: “I know that everybody will be wanting to offer their best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and I just wanted to reassure everybody by saying that I did see the Queen for an audience last week on Wednesday in Windsor and she’s very well.

“It shouldn’t need saying but I just wanted to say it anyway.”

The Queen has missed several other key events, including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening.

Royal author Penny Junor suggested the Queen is entering a new phase of her reign, during which she will not be seen as much in public.

Ms Junor said: “It’s very sad for the Queen because this is the one event in the year that she really, really likes to be at.

“Remembering the war dead is a very, very important part of her annual calendar.

“The public will be very sad and anxious to hear of yet another setback but clearly she must follow the advice and get herself well.”

The Queen has been under doctors’ orders to rest for more than three weeks after spending a night in hospital for preliminary tests.

Buckingham Palace had said it was her “firm intention” to be at the Cenotaph, and announced on Thursday that she would be at the ceremony.

But yesterday morning, less than two hours before she was due to arrive, the palace said she had sprained her back and could no longer attend.

Ms Junor said: “It’s not surprising because she is 95-years-old.

“We’re so used to seeing her out and about and looking years younger than she is that I think we’ve been lulled into thinking she can go on at this kind of pace forever.

“Clearly she can’t. There comes a time in everybody’s life when they have to admit that they are getting older and can’t do the things that they perhaps want to do.”

Suggesting it appears to mark a new phase in the Queen’s reign, Ms Junor said: “I think we will see more of her on video and probably less of her in the flesh.

“They should keep her warm and tucked up at home and not exposing herself to the possibility of infections.”

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: “There are shades of the time her mother was a similar age and things got progressively more difficult.

“But the Queen Mother soldiered on and there is no reason to think the Queen won’t, but this is a setback.

“Clearly there are mobility issues. Getting from Windsor with a sprained back and having to stand for 15 to 20 minutes at the Cenotaph is not helpful for somebody of 95.”

Mr Little said the Queen’s calendar in late November and December is traditionally less public-facing with more behind-the-scenes events.

The Queen usually also hosts a lunch for her wider family the week before Christmas.

“You would hope there would be a pre-Christmas family lunch for the extended family, hopefully at Windsor,” Mr Little said.

“That would be a display of normality as far as the Queen is concerned.”

“But in terms of official engagements before the end of the year, I don’t think we will see her out and about doing anything officially, even if she recovers from the sprained back.”