Queen is confined to a wheelchair says Christopher Biggins
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On Tuesday, March 29, a Service of Thanksgiving will be held to commemorate the life of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Details for Prince Philip’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey have now been released by Buckingham Palace, and several members of the Royal Family are expected to attend. But the attendance of the most prominent royal, Queen Elizabeth II, hangs in the balance following the cancellation of several of the monarch’s in-person appearances in recent months.
Will the Queen attend Prince Philip’s memorial service?
Clarity on whether the Queen will attend Prince Philip’s memorial service is likely to come on the morning of the event, but is understood the Queen hopes to make an appearance.
A “military-style planning operation” is in the works to get the Queen to the Abbey using a helicopter and privacy screens, the Sun on Sunday reported.
A source told the publication: “Everything is being looked at to make sure the Queen makes it to Philip’s service. But the most important thing is to make sure she is comfortable.
“She must be there, and the best and most capable minds are hard at work doing their very best to make it work.”
Which Royal Family members will attend the service?
Royal Family members expected to attend the memorial service include Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
Prince Philip’s second son Prince Andrew is also expected to attend, making the event his first public appearance since he settled the US civil case brought by Virginia Giuffre.
The Queen’s grandson Prince Harry already confirmed he won’t be attending the service earlier this year. The Duke has raised concerns for his and his family’s security while visiting the UK.
Harry is bringing a legal claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for security himself.
He is challenging the February 2020 decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec), which has delegated powers from the Home Secretary.
Members of European royal families have been invited to the event, along with the Duke’s wider family and friends.
Some 500 representatives from Philip’s patronages and charities have also been invited to attend at Westminster Abbey.
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Has any update been issued on the Queen’s health?
For several months, the health of the nation’s longest-serving monarch has prompted widespread concern.
The Queen, 95, pulled out of appearances at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last autumn, and then the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph a few days later, due to a back sprain.
Since the Queen’s health troubles last year, which saw the monarch spend a night in hospital, she has kept a largely virtual schedule of engagements in recent months.
The Queen’s in-person appearances have been sparse, and she recently pulled out of her appearance at the Commonwealth Service at the Abbey on March 14.
Buckingham Palace did not reference the Queen’s health in a statement at the time, but it added the decision was made “after discussing arrangements with the Royal Household”.
The Queen’s absence at the Commonwealth Service was understood to be centred on concerns about the Queen’s mobility and her ability to travel, rather than related to an illness.
After she tested positive for COVID-19 on February 20, a few days after her son Prince Charles also tested positive, the Queen returned to virtual duties on March 1.
The Queen was all smiles as she met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in person at Windsor on March 7.
And on Thursday this week, the Queen welcomed ambassadors of Morocco and Egypt via video link from her Berkshire base of Windsor Castle, where she now spends most of her time.
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