Queen hopes to attend Commonwealth Day service with royal family

The Queen returned to in-person events on Monday when she welcomed Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau to Windsor Castle on Monday for an audience.

Tony Jones
Wednesday 09 March 2022 19:19
Queen Elizabeth II walks past Commonwealth flags in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle , to mark Commonwealth Day 2021 (Steve Parsons/PA)
Queen Elizabeth II walks past Commonwealth flags in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle , to mark Commonwealth Day 2021 (Steve Parsons/PA)

The former archbishop of York will give the address at the Commonwealth Day service expected to be the Queen’s first major public appearance since reaching her Platinum Jubilee milestone.

The Queen, who has recently recovered from a bout of Covid, hopes to attend the important event in the royal calendar alongside the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Commonwealth, affectionately known as the “family of nations”, has played an important role throughout the monarch’s reign, and she takes a special interest in the institution.

The Queen, the Prince of Wales, Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge leaving after the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in 2020 (Yui Mok/PA)

Highlights of the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday 14 March will include an address by the former archbishop Lord Sentamu, a reflection by young Tongan leader Elizabeth Kite and special musical performances from Emeli Sande and Mica Paris.

Commonwealth Day has not been celebrated in person since 2020 when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their last public appearance with senior royals before stepping down as working members of the monarchy and moving to North America.

The Queen returned to in-person events on Monday when she welcomed Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau to Windsor Castle on Monday for an audience.

The monarch tested positive for Covid on February 20 and Buckingham Palace said at the time she was experiencing “mild cold-like symptoms”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales during the 2020 Commonwealth Service (Phil Harris/Daily Mirror/PA)

During her meeting with Mr Trudeau the head of state was not pictured with the walking stick she has been using of late and the pair shared a joke at the start of their meeting.

The Queen last met a group of people in public on February 5, the eve of reaching her Platinum Jubilee, when she hosted a reception at her Sandringham home for local charity workers, volunteers and former staff from her Sandringham estate.

Concerns were raised about the Queen’s health when she spent a night in hospital last October, missed a string of events and was advised to undertake light duties by royal doctors.

She had only returned to something approaching normal working practices just before contracting Covid-19.

Flag bearers will feature at the Commonwealth Day service. Richard Pohle/The Times

Guests among the 1,500 strong congregation will include the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland, High Commissioners, Ambassadors, senior politicians and dignitaries from across the UK and Commonwealth, faith leaders and more than 600 school children and young people.

The service will feature the world premiere of the musical piece Beacon of Brightest Light, inspired by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, composed by Debbie Wiseman.

The event will begin with a procession of Commonwealth Flags and members of the royal family will meet people involved in the service at the end.

Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the event will feature the Queen’s Commonwealth Day message.

Later that evening Charles and Camilla will be guests of Baroness Scotland, and her husband Richard Mawhinney, at the annual Reception which traditionally takes place on Commonwealth Day at Marlborough House, the home of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

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