Her Majesty the Queen has missed the traditional Maundy Thursday service for the first time in 50 years, with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall standing in for the monarch.
British media reports that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were also present at the ceremony in Windsor, after meeting the Queen – a fortnight before her 96th birthday – for the first time since they stepped down as working members of the royal family and departed the UK in 2020.
Prince Harry’s spokesperson confirmed that the couple had stopped off in the UK on their way to The Hague in the Netherlands, where Harry will open the Invictus Games. Details of their visit to Windsor had not previously been announced.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not attend last month’s memorial service for his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh, after Prince Harry said he was unable to return to the UK because it was “too dangerous” for his family. He is currently seeking a judicial review of a Home Office decision not to provide them with security when visiting from the US.
The last time the Queen missed the Maundy Thursday service – a traditional distribution of newly minted coins which always falls on the Thursday before Easter – was in 1970, when she was on a tour of New Zealand. On that occasion, her mother Queen Elizabeth stood in for her.