Queen Elizabeth II, 95, who has been suffering from mobility problems, will not attend next week's Maundy Day service which is normally a fixture in her annual calendar, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.
The monarch, who will turn 96 next month, will instead be represented by her son and heir Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, it said.
The queen, currently in her record-breaking 70th year on the throne, has not attended a high-profile event outside her homes apart from a memorial service for her late husband Prince Philip last week since she spent a night in hospital last October.
Ill health, including a bout of Covid, and difficulties walking and standing forced her to pull out of a Commonwealth Day service at the last minute on March 14, one of the most important dates in the queen's calendar.
After the October scare, doctors ordered the queen to rest and she cancelled a string of high-profile engagements, including hosting world leaders at the UN climate change summit in November.
She has complained of mobility issues, with reports she has been using a wheelchair -- and even a golf buggy -- in private.
The Royal Maundy service, which will be held on April 14, is an Easter tradition whereby the sovereign gives out specially minted silver coins to the elderly.
The freshly minted Maundy coins -- which add up to 85 pence, but are valuable souvenirs -- reflect a royal tradition dating back to at least the 12th century when English kings would give money to the needy at Easter time.
© 2022 AFP