Queen Elizabeth won’t attend the Commonwealth service due to mobility issues

On the heels of Prince Harry’s spokesperson confirming that Harry will not return to the UK to attend Prince Philip’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace ended up confirming that the Queen will miss the Commonwealth Day service on Monday, March 14th. The timing was spectacular, because the royal commentators were already working themselves into a lather about Harry’s “disrespect” and how fundamental it is for royals to show up at these big events… and then the Queen was like “I’m not going to the Commonwealth thing though.” Of course, the talking points are completely different, especially since everyone knows that the Queen is in especially poor health.

Queen Elizabeth will miss the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday, the palace announced Friday. Her son and heir, Prince Charles, will represent her at the ceremony.

“After discussing the arrangements with the Royal Household, The Queen has asked The Prince of Wales to represent Her Majesty at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement. “The Queen will continue with other planned engagements, including in-person audiences, in the week ahead.”

PEOPLE understands that the Queen’s absence from the Commonwealth Day Service is not related to illness. There were discussions surrounding the monarch’s comfort when it came to her travel arrangements and attending the service. The monarch has been using a walking cane since October and recently complained of mobility issues.

As planned, the service will be attended by Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Kate Middleton and the Queen’s first cousin, Princess Alexandra. However, the Queen’s other cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, and his wife the Duchess of Gloucester will no longer attend following the Duke’s positive test for COVID-19.

[From People]

Basically, palace courtiers were briefing outlets that the Queen isn’t sick per se, but that she would be very uncomfortable outside of Windsor Castle, traveling to Westminster by car, and there are likely concerns about the Queen’s mobility when it comes to going into the Abbey and being seated for some time on a pew. The answer, if the Queen felt it necessary to attend, would probably be to just encourage her to use a wheelchair. But then that brings up a conversation about ableism and whether the Abbey is wheelchair-accessible and how the Queen would be seated on a pew. No one around the Queen wants her photographed in a wheelchair and I have no idea why they’re so hellbent on that never happening. The woman is 95 years old, soon to be 96. Let her sit in a wheelchair.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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