Remembrance Sunday 2021: Queen misses Cenotaph service in London

The Queen’s absence at the Cenotaph comes as she missed the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday
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The Queen has missed the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph after spraining her back.

The 95-year-old monarch has been under doctors’ orders to rest for almost a month and spent a night in hospital on October 20 undergoing preliminary tests.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • Buckingham Palace said the 95-year-old monarch made the decision on Sunday morning “with great regret” and is “disappointed” she missed the event
  • It is understood the Queen’s back sprain is unrelated to her doctor’s recent advice to rest
  • As in previous years, a wreath will be laid on Her Majesty’s behalf by the Prince of Wales
  • The event will be given added poignancy by a return to pre-pandemic numbers of participating veterans and military, as well as onlookers
  • The Prime Minister will be among senior politicians and members of the royal family laying a wreath at the war memorial in central London for the National Service of Remembrance

What’s been said

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.

“His Royal Highness, along with the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra will be present at the Cenotaph today as planned.”


The Remembrance service in Whitehall will return to normal this year, after the pandemic limited the number of veterans and military and closed the ceremony to the public last year.

Hundreds of servicemen and women will line up around the Cenotaph, and nearly 10,000 veterans will march past the war memorial, watched by large crowds

The Queen, who lived through the Second World War as a teenager, is head of the armed forces and attaches great importance to the poignant service and to commemorating the sacrifices made by fallen servicemen and women.

A national two-minute silence will take place at 11am on Sunday to remember those who fought in past conflicts and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Ceremonies will also take place at war memorials across the country, after being scaled back last year with the RBL advising the public to commemorate remotely by displaying a poppy in their window.

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