Queen Elizabeth Has Missed Remembrance Day Before — Here's Why She Was Absent 6 Other Times

The last time the Queen was missing from the solemn ceremony was 1999

Queen Elizabeth II attends the annual Remembrance Sunday service at The Cenotaph
Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth's absence from Sunday's Remembrance Day ceremony in London was extremely rare — but it wasn't the first time she's missed the event.

Sunday's service at the Cenotaph war memorial was to have been the 95-year-old monarch's return to public view for the first time in two weeks since she was asked to rest by medics following her October 20 hospitalization. In a short message, Buckingham Palace announced early on Sunday, "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."

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The Queen is said by a royal source to be "deeply disappointed," as she regards the moving ceremony as "one of the most significant engagements of the year."

The monarch has missed the event a total of six times previously during her 69-year reign, the most recent being 22 years ago in 1999.

Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Kate Middleton. Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth first skipped the Remembrance Day service in 1959, when she was pregnant with her third child, Prince Andrew. She was also absent from the event in 1963 due to her pregnancy with her youngest child, Prince Edward.

The four other absences were due to overseas visits: Ghana in 1961, Brazil in 1968, Kenya in 1983 and South Africa in 1999.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 14, 2021 in London, England.
Prince Charles. Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage

At Sunday's ceremony, a wreath was placed at the memorial on the Queen's behalf by her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles.

Charles, who turned 73 on Sunday, also laid a wreath of his own, decorated with white Prince of Wales feathers. His wife Camilla, 74, had put the finishing touches to the wreath a few days ago.

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex attend the National Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph on November 14, 2021 in London, England.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on Remembrance Sunday, with Kate Milddleton and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage

The Queen's place on the balcony above the Cenotaph was taken by her cousin, the Duke of Kent, who was accompanied by another of Her Majesty's cousins, Princess Alexandra. On a neighboring balcony stood Kate Middleton, who was flanked on her right by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, on her left as tributes were paid to those who had been lost in the two world wars and conflicts since.

Prince William, watched by his wife the Duchess of Cambridge and dressed in the uniform of a Squadron Leader of the Royal Air Force, stepped forward after his father to lay a wreath of his own.

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