The Queen’s Ability to Attend Prince Philip’s Memorial Up in the Air

She also could miss the opening of British parliament in May.

Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Though it is Queen Elizabeth’s fervent wish to attend late husband Prince Philip’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday, her ability to attend will likely be a game time decision, OK! reports.

The decision as to whether Her Majesty will be able to attend the March 29 event will likely not be made until just before the service, the outlet reports. The Service of Thanksgiving will celebrate the Duke of Edinburgh’s life and “dedication to family, nation, and Commonwealth.” He passed away last April at 99 years old, and, because of COVID-19 restrictions at the time, his funeral was limited to just 30 people.

Her Majesty recently missed the Commonwealth Day ceremony on March 14 because of concerns surrounding her “comfort,” OK! reports. Now, “palace staff members are scrambling to find new ways to make the royal as comfortable as possible if she is to attend the memorial, devising plans that include a possible helicopter drop off and privacy screens,” the outlet said.

“The Queen is extraordinary. She has gone on with great vigor for years, but we have to remember she is 95 and not superhuman,” royal biographer Penny Junor told The Daily Mail, via OK!. “In other respects, she is on great form. The Queen is fantastic on Zoom calls, but I think events where she is required to walk or go up any steps are not going to be feasible anymore.”

Recent reports are also indicating that Her Majesty may miss the opening of British parliament on May 10. According to The Sunday Times of London, via Page Six, once again the Queen will decide that day if she is up for the task. Her Majesty has only missed the opening of parliament twice in the past 70 years, the last time being just before the birth of Prince Edward in 1964.

“The date is in Her Majesty’s diary, and she hopes to attend,” an unnamed royal source told The Sunday Times (opens in new tab). “The Queen remains fit and active, and it is amazing how much she still does. But her diary is being paced to reflect the realities of a woman of her age, and to ensure that she is able to continue to do as much as she can and would like to do. All events now will be scheduled so that if Her Majesty is unable to attend at short notice, another member of the royal family will still be present.”

In the case of the opening of parliament, the throne speech will fall to her heir, Prince Charles, if she is unable to attend.

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.