The 95-year-old monarch announced on Friday, March 11, that she would be absent from the annual event, which took place on Monday, March 14. Though she wasn’t present for the service, the queen still released her traditional Commonwealth Day message.
“In this year of my Platinum Jubilee, it has given me pleasure to renew the promise I made in 1947, that my life will always be devoted in service,” she said in the statement, which was released on Monday. “Our family on nations continues to be a point of connection, cooperation and friendship. It is a place to come together to pursue common goals and the common good, providing everyone with the opportunity to serve and benefit. In these testing times, it is my hope that you can draw strength and inspiration from what we share, as we work together towards a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future for all.”
Charles, 73, attended the service at Westminster Abbey with his wife, Duchess Camilla, by his side. Prince William and Duchess Kate were also on hand for the event, which honors the 54 countries that make up the Commonwealth. The service was canceled in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic and replaced with a smaller event.
The Duke of Cambridge, 39, and his wife, 40, celebrated the occasion via social media. “2.5 billion citizens. 54 member countries. Wishing a very happy #CommonwealthDay to you all,” they tweeted on Monday, including flag emojis for each of the Commonwealth’s member countries.
Last month, Elizabeth battled COVID-19, but she quickly recovered. On March 7, she attended her first in-person engagement since her diagnosis, meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“She’s showed extraordinary courage and is thankful for all the love and support she’s received, and as long as she feels able to work that’s what she’ll continue to [do],” an insider exclusively told Us Weekly after the queen tested positive for coronavirus. “It’s typical of her selfless character and everyone is just in awe of her resolve and bravery. She’s truly one of a kind and an example to everyone around her.”
Buckingham Palace didn’t say why the royal matriarch missed the Commonwealth Day Service, but they noted in a statement that she will soon return to business as usual, explaining, “The Queen will continue with other planned engagements, including in-person audiences, in the week ahead.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!