Queen Sends Poignant Message After Canceling Outing: 'None of Us Can Slow the Passage of Time'
Queen Elizabeth canceled her appearance at the Church of England's national assembly on Tuesday as she continues to rest, marking the first time she has missed the General Synod in its 51-year history.
Representing the 95-year-old monarch was her youngest son Prince Edward, who had been slated to join her at the ceremony. In her absence, the Queen shared a reflective message, including a nod to her husband Prince Philip, who died in April at age 99.
"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," the Queen said in the statement. "None of us can slow the passage of time."
The Queen also praised the church for offering "hope" through innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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," she said. "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."
She continued, "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 meeting takes place every five years to coincide with the diocesan elections.
"Your Graces and members of the Synod, the next five years will not always be straightforward," the Queen said. "Like every new Synod, you have inherited weighty responsibilities with many issues to address, reports to debate, and difficult decisions to make. You may have to consider proposals on governance, on conduct, on the use of resources, and on other issues; and on a vision for the future of the Church."
She continued, "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."
The palace announced last week that Queen Elizabeth would miss Tuesday's event.
"Mindful of her doctors' recent advice, The Queen has decided not to attend the General Synod Service and Opening Session on Tuesday 16th November," they said in a statement.
The Queen was expected to attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph war memorial in London. However, the palace shared the morning of the event that she would be absent from the annual event due to a sprained back.
The Queen was said by a royal source to be "deeply disappointed," as she regards the moving ceremony that pays tribute to those who lose their lives in war as "one of the most significant engagements of the year."
"Nobody regrets the Queen's absence today more deeply than Her Majesty," the source added.
Queen Elizabeth has canceled several engagements after being hospitalized on October 20 and told to rest by doctors. In addition to using a walking cane to get around at events last month, the Queen has also reportedly been advised in recent months to give up horse riding and martinis.