Amid growing concerns over her health following a recent hospitalization, Queen Elizabeth II was absent at her country's annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony at London's war memorial after suffering an injury.
In a statement released hours before the Nov. 14 event, Buckingham Palace said, "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. Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service."
The 95-year-old ceremonial monarch's son and heir, Prince Charles—who turned 73 that day, laid a wreath on the queen's behalf at the ceremony. There, he, his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the queen's grandson Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton, and other royals all participated in what appeared to be a particularly loud and moving rendition of "God Save the Queen," the United Kingdom's national anthem.
Camilla, Kate and Sophie, Countess of Wessex—wife of the queen's youngest son Prince Edward, watched the ceremony together from a balcony. The royals, minus the queen, had also attended the Festival of Remembrance at London's Royal Albert Hall the day before.
The queen, the head of the U.K.'s Armed Forces, was last photographed in person on Nov. 1, driving herself on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where she has been residing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She last attended an event in person on Oct. 19, appearing at a reception in London's Buckingham Palace, her primary residence. The next day, she was hospitalized "for some preliminary investigations" before being released home the following afternoon and given medical advice to "rest for a few days," Buckingham Palace had said.
She also canceled a trip to Northern Ireland. Her ailment was not disclosed.
On Oct. 29, as public concern over the queen's health grew, the palace announced that doctors recommended that she continue to rest for at least two weeks. The palace also said at the time that while she will be unable to travel to the Festival of Remembrance on Nov. 13, "it remains The Queen's firm intention to be present for the National Service of Remembrance on Remembrance Sunday, on 14th November."
Her doctors also said she could "continue to undertake light, desk-based duties," including a few virtual audiences. On Nov. 1, hours after she was seen driving at Windsor, a pre-recorded speech she had recorded was played at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
While speaking, she paid tribute to her late husband Prince Philip, who died in April at age 99, saying, "It is a source of great pride to me that the leading role my husband played in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet, lives on through the work of our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William. I could not be more proud of them."
He absence at the war memorial in Whitehall Sunday marks the seventh time the queen has missed the U.K.'s annual official Remembrance Day service during her 69-year reign, having been absent twice due to pregnancy and another four times while traveling overseas.