Queen issues moving statement insisting she'll be monarch for life despite missing Commonwealth Day Service

Her Majesty has said her “life will always be devoted to service”

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At today’s Commonwealth Day Service, the Queen promised she will be monarch for life, despite her non-attendance of the event.

Her Majesty announced last week that Prince Charles would be representing her at the service after she was ordered to “pace herself” in the public engagements she attended.

Aides also decided the drive to the event from Windsor, which is an hour outside of Westminster Abbey, would be too uncomfortable for Her Majesty.

Despite her absence, the Queen still managed to ensure her presence was felt by delivering a poignant message in the event’s programme that echoed comments she made on her 21st birthday in April 1947 where she promised a lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall represent the Queen at Commonwealth Day service ceremony at Westminster Abbey, in London
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall represent the Queen at Commonwealth Day service ceremony at Westminster Abbey, in London

She wrote: "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.

"Today, it is rewarding to observe a modern, vibrant and connected Commonwealth that combines a wealth of history and tradition with the great social, cultural and technological advances of our time.

"That the Commonwealth stands ever taller is a credit to all who have been involved.

"We are nourished and sustained by our relationships and, throughout my life, I have enjoyed the privilege of hearing what the relationships built across the great reach and diversity of the Commonwealth have meant to people and communities.

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, also attend the Commonwealth Day service
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, also attend the Commonwealth Day service

"Our family of 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.

"And on this special day for our family – in a year that will include the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Commonwealth Games – I hope we can deepen our resolve to support and serve one another, and endeavour to ensure the Commonwealth remains an influential force for good in our world for many generations to come."

Queen Elizabeth receives Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle two weeks ago
Queen Elizabeth receives Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle two weeks ago

Amid reports the monarch’s diary is “under review,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told GB News that the Queen’s retirement is “out of the question".

He said: “Next month the Queen turns 96. She has been in robust health for almost all of her life and has recovered from Covid. Last week she received the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor and it was noticed that she was not using her walking stick.

“However, as her absence from today’s Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey underlines, she has mobility issues, is not as strong as she used to be and her diary is reportedly under review."

While her public engagements may be scaled back, Mr Fitzwilliams says she intends to attend the Service of Thanksgiving for Prince Philip at the end of the month as it is “obviously tremendously important for her".

Plans for her participation in the celebration of her Platinum Jubilee in June will be “carefully reviewed” closer to the time.

The Queen has increasingly conducted more virtual engagements, particularly following and during her Covid-19 diagnosis.

Mr Fitzwilliams said: “The Queen has proved herself a master of the virtual broadcast as an admiring nation witnessed last year and may use this medium more, as many have since the pandemic began.

“There is no question whatever of her retiring, indeed her sagacity at this time of crisis is tremendously valuable and a constant that the nation can be thankful for.”