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Queen Elizabeth, senior royals attend service at Westminster Abbey, after health concerns


She entered the cavernous Westminster Abbey through a side door on Tuesday to shorten the distance to her seat.

The monarch entered the church on the arm of her second son, Prince Andrew, then separated from him to walk to her seat alone, easing concerns about “mobility issues” that have limited her public appearances in recent months.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attends a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, (Richard Pohle/Pool via AP) (AP)
Queen Elizabeth II is driven in to attend the service. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) (AP)

Her choice of escorts will be seen as a vote of support for Andrew after he settled a lawsuit linked to his relationship with the late, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The 95-year-old monarch was deeply involved in planning the event, but she has experienced unspecified mobility issues in recent weeks and her presence at the event was unclear.

Elizabeth, who recently recovered from COVID-19, didn’t go to a Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey earlier this month, though she continued with other scheduled engagements.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, centre right, arrive at the church. (Richard Pohle/Pool via AP) (AP)

The 95-year-old monarch was deeply involved in planning the service, which included hymns and tributes from the charities Philip supported. Such touches weren’t permitted during his funeral last year due to pandemic control measures.

About 1800 family members and guests attended the memorial.

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands attend the memorial service. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images) (Getty)

The Reverend David Conner remembered Philip’s service to the Queen and dedication to environmental protection and his commitment to equipping young people with the skills they need to succeed through his Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“Through his passionate commitment, he drew others to himself in admiration and respect and, in the case of those who lived and worked most closely to him, genuine love,” Reverend Conner said.

There were also subtler honours, delivered as the royals often do through their clothing choices.

The Queen; her daughter, Princess Anne; and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall; were all dressed in dark green, echoing Philip’s livery colour of Edinburgh Green.

A Royal fan waves a flag showing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as crowds gather ahead of a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in London, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) (AP)

Also wearing green was Doyin Sonibare, 28, who won top honours from the Duke of Edinburgh Award, created by Philip to teach young people confidence and life skills through outdoor activities and community service.

More than 6.7 million teenagers and young adults have taken part in the program since 1956.

Ms Sonibare delivered the primary tribute to Philip, thanking him for creating a program that gave her the tools she needed to get her first job, go on to university and now study for a PhD in sickle cell research.

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award recipient Doyin Sonibare reads a tribute at Westminster Abbey during the service of thanksgiving for the Duke of Edinburgh. (Photo Richard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty Images) (Getty)

The culmination of the program is an overnight expedition, something that frightened a teenager from East London who had never been camping before and had a fear of climbing steep hills.

“I kept thinking I was going to trip up, roll down the mountain and it’s lights out for Doyin,” she said.

“Fortunately for me, that didn’t happen. … I remember thinking to myself, if I could complete this expedition, I can do anything; even though at the time I was 18 and unsure about my future.”

Queen Silvia of Sweden and Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden attend the memorial service. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images) (Getty)

The entrances to Westminster Abbey were lined by winners of the program’s top honour, the Gold Award, as well as members of youth cadet associations — a touch requested by Philip.

There were also prayers, offered in tribute to Philip’s faith, and the congregation joined in singing Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, which wasn’t possible at his funeral because of restrictions that banned singing. The queen sang along.

Britain’s royal family attended, with Prince Charles sitting beside his mother and Prince William just behind her.

Members of the congregation sing during the service, something that was impossible at his funeral.. (Richard Pohle/Pool via AP) (AP)

Also taking part were many of Philip’s friends, and some 30 foreign royals, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, and King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain.

The service was brief — Philip was known for hating a fuss — with the Queen walking out of the church less than 50 minutes after she walked in. But it did give Britain a chance to offer a note of thanks to the man who at the Queen’s coronation in 1953 swore to be her “liege man of life and limb”.’

It was also a family occasion, showing that the Windsors will stick together even through the rough patches.

Britain’s Prince Andrew attends a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (Richard Pohle/Pool via AP) (AP)

Although Prince Harry and Meghan chose not to travel from their home in California.

Senior royals gather for Prince Philip memorial

“This was the Queen endorsing Andrew after he paid millions to a woman he says he has no recollection of ever meeting,” royal analyst Peter Hunt wrote on Twitter.

“Either Charles and William didn’t intervene — or they did and failed to stop the Prince performing such a high profile role at his father’s memorial service.”



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