Queen stands unaided as she returns to duties in first official engagement
The Queen was seen standing unaided today as she held a face to face audience at Windsor Castle, in her first official engagements since missing Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph after spraining her back.
The monarch, 95 – dressed in a green, orange and white floral dress and wearing a string of pearls – was pictured greeting and chatting to General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff.
The military audience in Windsor’s Oak Room – a sitting room that doubles as a private office – was Her Majesty’s first in-person audience since she hosted a global investor summit at Windsor on October 19.
The monarch previously told of her regrets at having to miss Remembrance Sunday after spraining her back.
She was also left unable to attend the Church of England’s national assembly yesterday, for the first time in her 69-year reign, and spoke remotely to delegates at COP26 in Glasgow.
During the address, Her Majesty urged world leaders to reach decisive climate change deals as she warned ‘none of us will live forever’.
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The monarch 95 – dressed in a green, orange and white floral dress and wearing a string of pearls – was pictured standing as she greeted to Gen Sir Nick in Windsor’s Oak Room
Today’s meeting was the first in-person audience the monarch has held since an investor summit at Windsor on October 19
Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, read out a speech on his mother’s behalf at the Church of England synod yesterday.
Her statement read: ‘It is hard to believe that it is over 50 years since Prince Philip and I attended the very first meeting of the General Synod.
‘None of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the Gospel of Christ and his teachings.’
The monarch reminded the church of its ‘weighty responsibilities’ in making ‘difficult decisions’ about the future of the church.
‘In some areas, there will, of course, be differing views and my hope is that you will be strengthened with the certainty of the love of God, as you work together and draw on the Church’s tradition of unity in fellowship for the tasks ahead,’ she said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury told the Earl that the church ‘draws great comfort’ from the Queen’s prayers.
Her Majesty’s speech also touched on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic had on all faiths.
‘Of course, in our richly diverse modern society, the well-being of the nation depends on the contribution of people of all faiths, and of none.
‘But for people of faith, the last few years have been particularly hard, with unprecedented restrictions in accessing the comfort and reassurance of public worship.
‘For many, it has been a time of anxiety, of grief, and of weariness.
‘Yet the Gospel has brought hope, as it has done throughout the ages; and the Church has adapted and continued its ministry, often in new ways, such as digital forms of worship.’
The General Synod is the national assembly of the Church of England which passes legislation.
It was the first full in-person meeting of Synod since February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic.
Prince Edward delivers the Queen’s speech on her behalf at the General Synod on Tuesday after the Queen missed the event for the first time in its 51-year history
Her youngest son Edward Earl of Wessex (pictured) who read the head of state’s speech to bishops and clergy, praised the institution for offering ‘hope’ during the pandemic
LAST SEEN — The Queen is photographed leaving Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk on Tuesday last week
Since pulling out of the Remembrance Sunday service, the Queen had been due to carry out virtual audiences later this week.
She has no major public engagements planned for the rest of the year.
Concern for her health has increased given her age and due to the number of major engagements she has missed in recent weeks.
She cancelled a two-day trip to Northern Ireland, and pulled out of attending the Cop26 climate change summit, the Festival of Remembrance, Remembrance Sunday and the Synod.
The Queen’s husband the Duke of Edinburgh died in April age 99.
Saturday marks their first wedding anniversary to pass since Philip died. The Queen and the Duke would have celebrated 74 years of marriage.
The Earl of Wessex has told the General Synod ‘you probably understand why’ the Queen was not present to deliver her address.
Edward, addressing the Church of England’s national assembly on behalf of his mother in Westminster on Tuesday, said the Queen sends her ‘sincere and deep apologies that she cannot be here today’.
He added: ‘I think you probably understand why, and she regrets that deeply.’
(From left) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Kate, Duchess of Cambridge; and Sophie, Countess of Wessex stand on the balcony of the Foreign Office in Westminster during the Remembrance Sunday service where the Queen would have been present
The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge stand on the balcony at the Remembrance Sunday service
The National Service of Remembrance service, pictured on Sunday, is one of the Queen’s most important events of the year
Prince Charles and Camilla are currently on a tour of Jordan, and were pictured yesterday joining Queen Rania for a private dinner at the Al Husseiniya Palace.
Earlier in the day they dipped their fingers in water from the holy River Jordan, which is used to baptise royal babies.
Meanwhile, the palace is facing fresh turmoil over Prince Andrew, this time over his finances.
Yesterday, it emerged he had a loan from a major Tory donor’s private bank extended to £1.5million to cover his ‘living expenses’ just days before the tycoon transferred a similar amount of money into his account.
Businessman David Rowland, 76, wired the money to a London bank account held by the Duke of York – a long-term friend of his – in December 2017, it was claimed.
The prince’s account was with Banque Havilland SA – a Luxembourg based private bank owned by Mr Rowland and his family.
The transfer to Prince Andrew’s account was earmarked for a repayment of a £1.5million loan from Banque Havilland, according to documents reportedly seen by Bloomberg News.
The unsecured loan had, according to reports, been increased 11 days earlier by £250,000 to cover the Prince’s ‘working capital and living expenses’ – despite concern that it was ‘not in line with the bank’s risk appetite’.
But, according to Bloomberg, bank staff approved the extension, having noted that the loan opened up ‘further business potential with the Royal Family’.
Representatives for Prince Andrew described any transfer of funds between the pair as a ‘private’, while Havilland Bank denied any wrongdoing.
Major events the Queen has missed after rest orders and hospital stay
The national Remembrance Sunday service is just one of a key number of engagements the Queen has missed over the past few weeks. Here are the others:
– Northern Ireland
The Queen cancelled a two-day trip to Northern Ireland at the last minute on October 20. Buckingham Palace announced she had been ordered to rest by her royal doctors on the morning she was due to begin the visit.
The Palace said the monarch was resting at Windsor Castle but it later emerged she was secretly admitted to hospital that afternoon for ‘preliminary investigations’. She spent the night at King Edward VII’s Hospital – her first overnight hospital stay in eight years.
– Cop26 climate change summit
The Queen was due to travel to Scotland to address world leaders on November 1 at the crucial environmental summit and attend a major reception with other members of the royal family.
But five days before the event, the Palace said the Queen had ‘regretfully decided that she will no longer travel to Glasgow to attend the evening reception of Cop26’. Instead, the Queen recorded a video message calling on leaders to rise above politics and tackle the global warming crisis.
– Festival of Remembrance
Each year, the royal family gathers at the Royal Albert Hall for a poignant commemorative event on the night before Remembrance Sunday. The Festival of Remembrance, where poppy petals fall from the ceiling during the two-minute silence, is dedicated to all those from Britain and across the Commonwealth who have served in the military and sacrificed their lives.
On October 29, the Palace said the Queen had been advised to rest for at least a further two weeks and she would miss the Festival of Remembrance The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall instead lead royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at the event.
– Remembrance Sunday
It was the Queen’s ‘firm intention’ to be at the national service of remembrance on November 14, the Palace said on October 29, with her attendance confirmed in details released on Armistice Day on November 11. But less than two hours before she was due to appear, it was announced she would no longer be present because of a sprained back.
The Queen, head of the Armed Forces, attaches great importance to honouring the war dead. It is only the seventh time she has missed the ceremony during her reign.
The other instances include four occasions when she was on overseas visits to Ghana in 1961, Brazil in 1968, Kenya in 1983 and South Africa in 1999. She was not present during the 1959 and 1963 services as she was pregnant with her two youngest children.
– The General Synod
The Queen is also missing the General Synod. She will not be at the Synod service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday November 16, nor the opening inauguration session at Church House, the Westminster headquarters of the Church of England, afterwards. The Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and has a strong Christian faith, and the General Synod is the church’s national assembly.
It is believed to be the first time the Queen has missed her five-yearly visit to the General Synod in its 51-year history, according to Buckingham Palace. In 1970 – the year the Synod replaced the Church Assembly – she became the first sovereign to inaugurate and address the gathering in person. Since then she has inaugurated and addressed the opening session every five years after diocesan elections. The 2020 elections were postponed to this year due to the pandemic.