Queen Elizabeth is handing one of her favorite Royal duties over to Duchess Meghan!
Queen Elizabeth II almost never cancels her scheduled appearances so it was big news when she did so on Thursday: The 92-year-old monarch announced she was feeling too unwell to attend a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement the queen “is feeling under the weather today” and decided to stay home at the palace instead of marking the 200th anniversary of the Order of St Michael and St George, one of Britain’s many historic orders of chivalry.
The palace said her cousin, the Duke of Kent, who is Grand Master of the Order, would take her place.
The queen has long enjoyed robust health, allowing her to carry out scores of public engagements around Britain every year. Her husband, 97-year-old Prince Philip, has had more health problems in the last decade, including a hip replacement in April, and has retired from public duties. But the queen carries on, though she has cut back significantly and doesn’t do overseas tours anymore.
The queen also had cataract surgery in May, which was unannounced until a month later. The only change in her routine: She was seen sporting protective sunglasses at public appearances, which is unusual for her.
Meanwhile, she’s still a visible presence in Britain: In recent weeks, she has had multiple appearances on her schedule, including a solo away day in Cheshire with her new granddaughter-in-law, Duchess Meghan of Sussex, plus her annual attendance at the Royal Ascot horse-racing event and the usual round of receptions, garden parties, openings and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
And aside from Prince Harry and his bride, the former Meghan Markle, the queen and Philip were front and center at their May 19 royal wedding in Windsor, which was watched by billions around the world.
The last time the state of the queen’s health caused alarms in the British media was in 2016 when the palace suddenly announced that both she and Philip were delaying their annual Christmas holiday at their Sandringham estate in Norfolk due to “heavy colds.”
Just a day after hosting the extended royal family for her annual Christmas lunch, the two felt too unwell to take their usual train trip to Norfolk. Two days later, the crisis was over and they were recovered enough to be helicoptered to Sandringham.
The British media were on high alert during this episode, as they always are when it comes to the queen’s health. Besides, it was a break in a strict royal routine of more than six decades: The royal family spends every Christmas at their Sandringham estate, just as they spend every summer holiday at their Balmoral estate in Scotland.
One of the next major dates penciled in on the queen’s calendar is a possible meeting with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump when they travel to Britain in July, although where this meeting will take place has not been officially announced.
A few hours after the announcement of the cancellation, Buckingham Palace sent out another press release Thursday announcing a new diary date for the queen: On July 10, she will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force at Westminster Abbey, accompanied by a clutch of royal relatives, including her four children, plus grandchildren Prince William, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan.
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