Queen rests at Windsor with no major public engagements planned for rest of 2021

The Queen is resting at Windsor Castle where she is expected to carry out light duties this week after missing the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph.

The 95-year-old monarch, who is said to have suffered a sprained back, has no official engagements on Monday, but is due to carry out virtual audiences in a few days’ time.

No major public engagements are planned for the head of state before the end of the year, but November and December are often quieter months for her royal calendar and her diary had already been set as such.

Global Investment Summit
The Queen was last seen in public on an official engagement on October 19 (Alastair Grant/PA)

She has cancelled an appearance at the General Synod on Tuesday – the first time the Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England, has missed her five-yearly visit to the Church’s national assembly in its 51-year history.

The Queen has been on doctors’ orders to rest for nearly a month after being admitted to hospital for preliminary investigations – her first overnight stay in a medical facility in eight years – on October 20.

She has not been seen carrying out official public duties in person since hosting a reception at Windsor for global business leaders on October 19.

Royal commentators speculated that the monarch is unlikely to be out and about in the coming months and that the Remembrance Sunday setback marked a new phase in her reign, where she is seen more on video and less in the flesh.

Remembrance Sunday
The Queen attaches great importance to the Cenotaph service (Chris Jackson/PA)

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said: “In terms of official engagements before the end of the year, I don’t think we will see her out and about doing anything officially, even if she recovers from the sprained back.”

He added that there had been a “collective sigh of relief” when she was due to be at the Cenotaph, but the situation had “regressed”.

Aides will be conscious of plans for the Platinum Jubilee next year, with the monarch due to reach the milestone in February, and participate in a busy four-day bank holiday weekend of festivities in June.

During the Diamond Jubilee, the Duke of Edinburgh, then 90, was in hospital for five days with a bladder infection and missed the Jubilee concert following a wet and windy trip down the Thames for the River Pageant.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations – Thames Pageant
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on board the Spirit of Chartwell during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in 2012 (John Stillwell/PA)

Mr Little said the Platinum Jubilee would be different from the 2012 Diamond Jubilee in terms of what the Queen does.

“The Platinum Jubilee programme will reflect her age, although the Palace won’t say as much, and other people will be doing engagements on her behalf,” Mr Little said.

“We know she won’t go to the Commonwealth or do any tours, but how much she does in the UK will be interesting to see.”

The Queen, who is head of the Armed Forces, was deeply disappointed not to be at the Cenotaph service, which she has only missed six times previously during her reign.

Her attendance was confirmed three days before, but the Palace announced just two hours before she was due to appear on the balcony overlooking the memorial on Whitehall that she had pulled out of the key engagement due to a sprained back.

In November and December 2019 pre-pandemic, the Queen visited the new headquarters of the Royal Philatelic society in London and also went to Chatham House, alongside Sir David Attenborough, among other official duties.

She also attended the State Opening of Parliament, which took place in December 2019.

Chatham House Prize 2019
The Queen alongside Sir David Attenborough at the Royal institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, in November 2019 (Eddie Mulholland/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

Traditionally she hosts the glittering annual white tie Diplomatic Corps reception in December for more than 1,000 guests, but it has not yet been confirmed whether this is taking place.

The Queen pre-records her Christmas Day broadcast in December, and usually hosts a pre-Christmas lunch for her wider family the week before December 25.

She then usually leaves for Sandringham and does not return from her Norfolk estate until after the anniversary of her February 6 accession – which in 2022 will be the 70th anniversary – her Platinum Jubilee.

This coming weekend marks a difficult milestone for the Queen.

Saturday would have been the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s 74th wedding anniversary – and it will be the first anniversary of their marriage to pass since Philip died in April at the age of 99.