Queen pulls out of Maundy church service

The Queen has pulled out of the Royal Maundy church service and will be represented by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, at the annual event for the first time.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will fulfil the ancient tradition of handing out Maundy money to community figures on Thursday at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The announcement came as Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen, who has experienced health problems in recent months, would not be attending the event.

It is understood the monarch was keen for arrangements to be confirmed ahead of the order of service being printed to avoid any misunderstanding or distraction on the day.

The Queen, 95, attended Prince Philip’s memorial service last week despite suffering from mobility issues but it had been unclear until the morning of the event whether she would be there.

However, her appearance was overshadowed by the decision for her to be escorted by Prince Andrew, in what was the disgraced royal’s first public appearance since settling the sexual assault case against him.

She travelled from Windsor with Andrew, who escorted her into Westminster Abbey, offering his elbow as she moved using a walking stick. The ceremony was held to mark a year since the Duke of Edinburgh’s death.

On four occasions a member of the royal family has stood in for the Queen at the Royal Maundy service.

Lord High Almoner, Michael Gresford Jones the Bishop of St Albans, represented the Queen in 1954, and six years later the Queen Mother stood in for her daughter who had given birth to the Duke of York two months earlier.

In 1964 the birth of the Earl of Wessex in March meant the Queen’s role was fulfilled by her aunt Princess Mary and in 1970, the Queen Mother distributed the Maundy money on behalf of the Queen who was on tour in New Zealand.

PA Media contributed to this report

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