FEARS were growing for the Queen’s health last night after she missed her first Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph for 22 years.

The monarch, 95, was said to be “deeply disappointed” after a back strain forced her to pull out of the service just hours beforehand.

Last night, sources played down concerns and said she hopes to resume light duties this week.

But it is the first time Her Majesty — head of the Armed Forces — has missed the event due to illness in her near 70-year reign.

Aides have previously described Remembrance Day as “inked in” to her calendar as the year’s most personally important event to her.

Until yesterday morning, courtiers had emphasised it was still the Queen’s “firm intention” to attend.

She was even understood to have rebuffed offers of special seating to make her more comfortable.

It comes three weeks after doctors first ordered her to rest because of a mystery ailment that saw her spend a night in hospital.

Her increasing frailty has forced her to miss the COP26 reception with world leaders in Glasgow, a two-day trip to Northern Ireland and Saturday’s annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

She will also miss the Church of England’s Synod service and opening session tomorrow for the first time.

Royal author Penny Junor said yesterday: “The public will be very sad and anxious to hear of yet another setback but clearly she must follow advice and get herself well.”

The Queen is understood to have made the decision not to attend the Cenotaph early yesterday morning, with the Duchess of Cambridge taking her place in the centre of the balcony.

Cars had been readied for her departure from Windsor and police outriders had to be stood down.

During yesterday’s service, Kate appeared close to tears as her husband William and father-in-law Charles sombrely laid wreaths.

The Queen’s injury — described as a back strain — was not believed to have been caused by a fall and she did not attend hospital.

Instead, she decided to cancel her plans after consulting royal doctors.

They are believed to have advised the Queen her bad back would have made the car journey to and from Windsor deeply uncomfortable.

She would almost certainly have been unable to stand for up to 30 minutes during the service.

The Sun understands she was injured on Saturday, but delayed any final decision until early yesterday.

She was not left bed-ridden and watched the service on TV.

Aides remain confident she will be able to have audiences this week and will soon resume “light duties”

A Palace source said yesterday: “It is obviously incredibly unfortunate timing, and nobody regrets the Queen’s absence today more deeply than Her Majesty herself.

“She is deeply disappointed to miss the engagement which she regards as one of the most significant of the year. She hopes to continue as planned with her schedule of light official duties next week.”


Her absence yesterday is perhaps the most significant sign yet of her growing frailty.

She first attended the service at The Cenotaph as an 11-year-old princess in 1937 with her father, George VI.

Since being crowned in 1953, she has missed it only six times — two of them in 1959 and 1963 when expecting Andrew and Edward.

The other times were while she was away on royal tours — Ghana in 1961, Brazil 1968, Kenya 1983 and South Africa 1999.

Even then, she managed to pre-record a video of her laying a wreath in Durban.

Last month, she appeared at Westminster using a walking stick for the first time since 2003.

Sources said it was purely for “comfort” and have since rearranged engagements to avoid cobbles and uneven surfaces.

She then pulled out of a two-day trip to Northern Ireland on October 20 — and hours later was driven to the King Edward VII’s hospital in central London.

Her overnight stay while having “preliminary investigations” was her first at hospital in eight years.

She was then advised to miss the start of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, and instead recorded a message for world leaders.

Feeling better, the Queen was cleared by doctors to fly by helicopter earlier this month for a weekend break at Sandringham.

Last week she was also spotted driving her car near Windsor Castle in a hopeful sign her health was improving.

On Thursday, Prince Charles reassured well-wishers at an engagement in Brixton, South London, that his mother is “all right”.

However, the Queen is understood not to have been horse riding since August due to “discomfort”.

She has also not taken her dogs for walks since returning from her summer break.

Vets sing for Queen

AMID the sombre reflection for the Fallen, Britain’s Armed Forces sent a get well message to the Queen.

As they gathered in Whitehall waiting for the traditional two-minute silence at 11am, whispered words spread among the 10,000 who fought for Queen and country that their sovereign was too ill to attend this year.

So, after Prince Charles and other members of the Royal Family had laid their wreaths for the nation’s glorious dead, the huge crowd sang God Save the Queen louder and with more gusto than ever before.

World War Two radar operator Leonard Hobbs, 97, said: “It was as if they were singing for the Queen to get better. She has been a good Queen and I hope she gets better soon.”

Former Warrant Officer Colin Veal, 63, who served in Northern Ireland, the Gulf, Bosnia and Afghanistan, said: “God Save the Queen was all the more poignant because she wasn’t there.

"When I joined the Army in 1974, the Queen was the boss. I’m a veteran now and she’s still the boss.”

Colin, of Coalville, Leics, added: “To every one of us who have served Queen and country, there’s something special about having her here.

“It is not the same without her.”

The Queen’s place in the centre balcony of the Foreign Office was taken by the Duke of Kent.

To the Duke’s left, Camilla, Kate and Sophie watched on as Prince Charles, looking tired in his naval uniform, laid the Queen’s wreath on behalf of the nation.

Kate looked close to tears as William laid another with a note reading: “For those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and for those who have returned and carry the scars, we remember them.”

Yesterday’s ceremony was a far cry from last year when the Covid lockdown meant only a few were allowed to remember the many.

In 2020, just 148 service personnel were on duty, while this year 718 were present.

Among them was L/Cpl Mae Percival, 22, who three months ago helped rescue 15,000 Brits and Afghans in the chaos of the Kabul airlift.

She said: “In the two-minute silence, I was thinking about the 13 US Marines who died in the Kabul operation. Nothing prepares you for the things we saw there.”

Tim Farmiloe was the oldest veteran at 98 on parade as he made his first appearance at the Cenotaph. He said: “I found it very moving.”

Normandy veteran Mervyn Kersh, 96, from North London, has marched at the Cenotaph for the past 20 years.

He said: “I wish the Queen all the best and obviously I’m disappointed she is not here. If I am here next year then she must be as well.”

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