The Prince of Wales, 74, appeared in high spirits as he arrived at Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Day service – which he attended in place of the Queen. The 95-year-old monarch hoped to be able to attend the annual service.
However, Buckingham Palace announced on Friday that the monarch will not be traveling to central London to join celebrations for the community of 54.
A statement read: “After discussing arrangements with the Royal Household, The Queen has asked the Prince of Wales to represent Her Majesty on Monday at Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.
“The Queen will pursue other scheduled engagements, including in-person audiences, in the coming week.”
While representing the Queen at today’s poignant event, Prince Charles was the latest member of the Royal Family to arrive, alongside his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.
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The most senior cabinet members present are normally the last to arrive at important events such as this service.
Weddings are an exception as they see the queen or the most senior royal guest arrive just before the bride.
Prince Charles and Camilla, who donned a vibrant purple outfit, joined Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William inside the Abbey.
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The four members of the royal family were seen enjoying a friendly chat before being greeted by some of the diplomats, political and religious leaders present.
Princess Alexandra, the Queen’s first cousin and confidante, was also present at the event.
Alexandra is one of 11 members of the Royal Family who the Sovereign can rely on when needed to represent the Crown through royal duties and appearances.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were also due to attend.
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However, they pulled out of service on Friday, after Prince Richard tested positive for Covid.
The Commonwealth is a political grouping of 54 nations, which are former colonies of the British Empire.
It is estimated that the Commonwealth covers a quarter of the world’s population.
Today’s service comes hours after Clarence House confirmed that Prince Charles and Camilla were due to travel to Rwanda in June to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
There, Prince Charles will again represent the monarch, who has not traveled abroad since 2015 – when she attended the Commonwealth Leaders’ Meeting in Malta alongside Charles, Camilla and her late husband.
This trip also marked the last engagement of the monarch and Prince Philip abroad, as the two members of the royal family have decided not to leave the British borders again given their advanced age.
The meeting in Rwanda will still include Barbados, which became a republic in November 2021 and formally deposed the Queen as head of state while retaining its Commonwealth membership.
Announcing the trip to Rwanda, the Prince of Wales said: “As the world struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in this Jubilee Year, it is more important than ever that the countries of Commonwealth get together.
“As a family of some 2.6 billion people from fifty-four nations on six continents, the Commonwealth represents a rich diversity of traditions, experiences and talents that can help build a more equal, sustainable and prosperous future. .
“With this shared sense of common purpose, and given recent forced postponements, my wife and I are delighted to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda in June.”
Prince Charles was named the future head of the Commonwealth in 2018 and will one day succeed the Queen in this role.