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Queen Elizabeth II sprains her back, will miss first scheduled public appearance since hospitalization

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London in 2018. Buckingham Palace says the queen has sprained her back and will not attend this year's Remembrance Sunday service to honor Britain’s war dead. (Alastair Grant/AP)

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II has sprained her back and will miss a Remembrance Sunday service to commemorate those who died in Britain’s wars, Buckingham Palace said in a statement, just hours before the monarch was due to make her first public appearance since spending the night in hospital last month.

The palace said the queen, who is 95, was “disappointed” to miss the ceremony, where she was expected to lead the nation in paying tribute. The queen is the head of the country’s military, and the annual event is one of the most significant in the royal calendar.

Prince Charles, heir to the throne, will lay a wreath of poppies on Her Majesty’s behalf, as he has done in previous years. Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will attend along with other members of the royal family.

In her almost 70-year reign, the queen has missed only a handful of Remembrance Day services — twice while she was pregnant and on four occasions in the past because of overseas travel, British media reported.

Late last month, the palace said the queen was advised by doctors to rest and undertake “light, desk-based duties.” Just before her hospital stay, the queen called off a trip to Northern Ireland, then later said she would not attend the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, where she was set to be the star attraction at an evening reception with world leaders. The back sprain is unrelated to the previous advice from doctors to rest.

The queen’s hospital stay was her first in eight years and sparked widespread concerns for her health.

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