Queen will NOT attend Easter Sunday service at Windsor Castle

Queen will NOT attend Easter Sunday service at Windsor Castle

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The Queen is not expected to attend the Easter Sunday service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle this weekend, a royal source said today.

Prince Charles and Camilla represented her at today’s Royal Maundy service at Windsor, but will then be away for Easter at their Birkhall estate in Aberdeenshire.

However, other members of the Royal Family – not including the Queen, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall – are expected to attend Sunday’s service. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s biographer Omid Scobie claimed today that this will be the first Easter Sunday service the Queen will have missed in five decades.

This is believed to have been in 1970 when the Queen was on a tour of New Zealand and Australia from March until May that year – and also missed the Maundy service. 

The 95-year-old monarch has been experiencing mobility issues in recent months and now lives at Windsor, but it is anticipated that she will not be at either service.

Easter Sunday falls this year on the one-year anniversary of her husband Prince Philip’s funeral – which also took place at St George’s Chapel – on April 17, 2021.

Charles and Camilla joined the congregation at St George’s Chapel today for the Maundy Thursday service which is an important fixture in the royal calendar.

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, speaking in his role as Lord High Almoner, said the Queen had a copy of the order of service and a list of Maundy money recipients and details about them. He told the congregation before the service began: ‘She’s close by and would want me to extend to you her greetings.’ 

Prince Charles and Camilla attend the Royal Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel today

Camilla arrives for the service at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle today

Camilla smiles as she arrives for the service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor this morning

Camilla arrives for the service at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle today

Buckingham Palace said last Friday that the Queen would not take part, and Charles would fulfil the ancient duty of distributing Maundy money to community stalwarts.

It is understood the Queen was unable to commit to the service and so the heir to the throne was asked to represent her to avoid her having to pull out on the day.

But the monarch attended last month’s memorial commemorating the life of Philip and has been carrying out virtual events and her other duties as head of state.

On four occasions a member of the royal family has stood in for the Queen at the Royal Maundy service, the last time was in 1970 when the Queen Mother distributed the Maundy money on behalf of her daughter who was on tour in New Zealand.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrive for the Royal Maundy Service today

Camilla arrives for the service at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle today

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrive for the Royal Maundy Service today

Today at the Royal Maundy service, Charles and Camilla were welcomed at St George’s Chapel by the Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Conner, who gave the address at Philip’s memorial service.

Following tradition they were presented with nosegays – sweet smelling bouquets – which in centuries past were used to ward off unpleasant smells in the ceremony.

For the past two years the service has not been held due to the pandemic and instead the Queen wrote to recipients of Maundy money.

They received the coins in the post and were thanked by the monarch for their community work which earned them their nominations.

The Queen is pictured at her last public appearance which was at a service of thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in London on March 29

The Easter Sunday and Royal Maundy services are at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle

This year Charles distributed the Maundy coins to 96 men and 96 women – as the Queen will be 96 this year, celebrating her birthday on April 21.

Each recipient received two purses, one red and one white.

The white purse is filled with uniquely minted Maundy money – silver 10p and 3p pieces – to the value of 96 pence.

In the red pouch is a £5 coin and a 50p coin portraying the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Both coins have been newly minted this year.

The heir to the throne walked along the lines of recipients saying a few words of thanks to each one and clasping their hand with both of his. 

Easter Sunday marks one year since the Queen attended Prince Philip’s funeral at the chapel

The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral took place at St George’s Chapel on April 17 last year

Muriel Davies, 99, who served in the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War, was recognised for her 50 years of fundraising for the RNLI in her home town of Bolton.

She said after the service: ‘It was lovely meeting Prince Charles, he said ‘it’s your birthday, I wish you a happy birthday for July – it’s lovely that you’re here today’.’

Mrs Davies will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 9 and, when asked if she missed the Queen, she joked about Charles deputising, saying: ‘I was glad to see anybody’.

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which originated in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples the day before Good Friday. 

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