Queen pulls out of Maundy Day church service and will be replaced by Prince Charles

The monarch will be represented at the Easter event by the Prince of Wales

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The Queen has pulled out of attending the annual Maundy Day church service and will be represented for the first time by the Prince of Wales, Buckingham Palace said.

This will be only the fifth time the Queen has missed the Royal Maundy in her reign since 1956.

Every year, on Maundy Thursday, the 95-year-old would normally travel to various cathedrals and abbeys to distribute special Maundy money to pensioners.

The service commemorates Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper.

Queen Elizabeth II distributing the Maundy money during the Royal Maundy Service
Queen Elizabeth II distributing the Maundy money during the Royal Maundy Service
Queen Elizabeth II distributed Maundy Money to pensioners in 1984
Queen Elizabeth II distributed Maundy Money to pensioners in 1984

The announcement of this year's absence comes nearly a month after the monarch, who turns 96-years-old this month, missed the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.

She did, however, attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service two weeks ago.

The Queen now regularly uses a stick and remarked during a recent Windsor audience “Well, as you can see, I can’t move”.

She has also just recovered from a bout of Covid in February, and spent more than three months resting on doctors’ orders from October and only carrying out light duties after an overnight stay in hospital for tests.

The Palace said in a statement: "Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will represent Her Majesty The Queen at the Royal Maundy Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor on Thursday 14th April.

"The Prince and The Duchess will be met by the Dean of Windsor, The Right Reverend David Conner KCVO and the Lord High Almoner, the Right Reverend Dr. John Inge.

"Their Royal Highnesses will be presented with nosegays at the start of the service, during which The Prince of Wales will distribute the Maundy money.

"Following the service, The Prince and The Duchess will proceed to the West Steps where an official photograph will be taken of Their Royal Highnesses and the Royal Maundy party."