Queen Elizabeth II to miss St. Paul's service Friday due to 'discomfort' after Trooping parade

Maria Puente
USA TODAY

Though Queen Elizabeth II had a great time at the Trooping the Colour parade kicking off her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London Thursday, "discomfort" she's experiencing will nix her much-anticipated attendance at church on Friday, Buckingham Palace said.

In a change that will disappoint millions, not to mention the queen, the palace announced Thursday that she will not be attending Friday's Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral. Such services are typical of royal jubilee celebrations.

Given the religious and family-oriented aspects of the service, it was considered one of her must-do events during the four-day jubilee holiday this weekend. The entire royal family are to be there, including the royal rebels, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (and California).

Trooping the Colour parade:Queen Elizabeth II appears twice on palace balcony as Platinum Jubilee party kicks off

Queen Elizabeth II begins celebrations for Platinum Jubilee on June 2, 2022, in London.

The palace announcement said the queen "greatly enjoyed" Thursday's Trooping the Colour parade that kicked off the four-day holiday celebrating her Platinum Jubilee marking her 70 years on the throne

She didn't parade or ride in a carriage let alone a horse, or even move much farther from a room to the palace balcony during the festivities.  

"But (she) did experience some discomfort," the palace statement said. "Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate in tomorrow’s National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty with great reluctance has concluded that she will not attend."

As usual, the palace statement was careful, even delicate, in describing anything to do with queen's health status, under the principle that the 96-year-old monarch has a right to medical privacy like anyone else.

Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee:Everything to know about the celebrations

But the palace has said in recent months she has experienced occasional "mobility" issues, and she herself recently told some visitors that she "couldn't move" and is now using a cane. She also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year. 

Thursday morning was a key event in the jubilee schedule: the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony, a parade of military color, precision and horsemanship that marks her official birthday (her real one is in April).

In decades past, she would ride horses or in carriages and stand on a dais to "take the salute" of her soldiers at Horse Guards Parade down The Mall from the palace.

Instead, she took the salute on the palace balcony and then appeared with the senior royals in the family for the traditional conclusion of the parade with a roaring RAF flypast featuring jets flying in the number "70" formation over the palace. 

But getting the queen to and from her full-time home at Windsor Castle or from the palace without strain is no easy task in ancient London with its many antique buildings with imposing entrance steps, such as those at St. Paul's Cathedral. 

Queen Elizabeth II flanked by her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the Trooping the Colour parade, June 2, 2022.

At least one of the reasons why she skipped the State Opening of Parliament ceremony last month, delegating her heir Prince Charles to stand in for her, was the complications of getting in and out of cars and carriages and up and down steps at the Houses of Parliament.  

The queen was expected to put the Service of Remembrance at the top of her jubilee weekend to-do list, in part because she's devout and in part because it's a gathering of her entire family, not just the "working" senior royals. 

Harry and Meghan, back in the U.K. together and attending some jubilee events in public for the first time in more than two years, will be there. 

Fighter jets from Royal Air Force fly in formation to form the number '70' during a special flypast over Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Colour parade June 2, 2022 in London.

But Prince Andrew, the scandal-scarred Duke of York and queen's second son, will not be there because he tested positive for COVID, the palace announced Thursday.  

The rest of the jubilee weekend is packed with various strenuous events and the queen was never expected to attend all of them.

As palace officials had warned earlier this year, they expected not to know whether the queen would make it to specific events until the day of or the day before.