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The Queen has called the pandemic a period “of anxiety, of grief, and of weariness”, in a letter read by Prince Edward.
After missing the Remembrance Sunday service at the weekend, the Queen was forced to miss her five-yearly visit to the Synod for the very first time on Tuesday.
In her place at the meeting of bishops and clergy leaders, was her youngest son, the Earl of Wessex who read out a message from the Church of England's Supreme Governor.
Before doing so Edward, who has proven to be one of the Palace's 'Magnificent Seven',said the Queen sends her “sincere and deep apologies that she cannot be here today”
He added: “I think you probably understand why, and she regrets that deeply.”
Reading aloud his mother’s message, Edward said: “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.
“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.
“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.”
It came after Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, attended an opening service at nearby Westminster Abbey, where the Archbishop of Canterbury led a number of prayers.
It is the first time the monarch, who is Supreme Governor of the church, has missed her five-yearly visit to the Synod in its 51-year history.
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The General Synod is the national assembly of the Church of England which passes legislation.
It was the first full in-person meeting of Synod since February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic.
The 11th Synod was elected earlier this autumn for a five-year term and will meet two or three times a year.
In her speech, the Queen reminded the church of its “weighty responsibilities” in making “difficult decisions” about the future of the church.
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Edward added: “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 Queen pulled out the national Remembrance Sunday service at the weekend after spraining her back, Buckingham Palace said.
She is due to carry out virtual audiences later this week but has no major public engagements planned for the rest of the year.
Concern for her health has increased given her age and due to the number of major engagements she has missed in recent weeks.
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