The central London service was due to be the Queen’s first public appearance in almost four weeks since a hospital stay last month, after which she was advised by doctors to rest.
Buckingham Palace said that “The Queen, having sprained her back, has decided this morning with great regret that she will not be able to attend today’s Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph.
“Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.
“As in previous years, a wreath will be laid on Her Majesty’s behalf by the Prince of Wales.”
The service will still be attended by the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
The palace previously said it was the Queen’s “firm intention” to attend the annual Remembrance service to honour the country’s war dead.
The Queen, who regards the service as one of the most significant engagements of the year, was due to watch the service at the war memorial in central London from the balcony of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building.
On 20 October the Queen cancelled a two-day trip to Northern Ireland following medical advice to rest. Buckingham Palace confirmed she spent the night in hospital where she underwent tests.
At the end of October, it was confirmed by the palace that the Queen was advised by her doctors to rest for at least a further two weeks, forcing her to miss official visits including the UN climate summit in Glasgow and the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday 13 November.
The monarch, who lived through the Second World War as a teenager, is head of the armed forces and has only missed six other Cenotaph ceremonies during her reign: on four occasions when she was on overseas visits to Ghana in 1961, Brazil in 1968, Kenya in 1983 and South Africa in 1999 and twice in 1959 and 1963 services as she was pregnant.
‘It must be serious’
Servicemen and women attending the Remembrance service in central London extended their support to the Queen following her health announcement.
Royal navy petty officer Ben Shread, of the combat camera team, said “it must be very serious” if the Queen is unable to attend.
“It would be nice if the boss was here. She’s the head of the armed services. I don’t know if she has ever missed the Remembrance parade before,” he said. “So, if there is a reason she is not here it must be a very serious one. We all wish her well.”
Royal author Penny Junor said the nation’s anxiety about the Queen’s health will be heightened following the news of the Queen’s sprained back.
“The public will be very sad and anxious to hear of yet another setback but clearly she must follow the advice and get herself well,” Ms Junor said. “It’s very sad for the Queen because this is the one event in the year that she really, really likes to be at. Remembering the war dead is a very, very important part of her annual calendar.”
Ms Junor added that the public will begin to see the Queen more by video and less in the flesh.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies