Members of the British Royal Family attended a church service Friday in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, although the Queen herself skipped the event at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral due to difficulties making ends meet at 96.
The Thanksgiving service takes place on the second of four festive days in honor of the Queen’s platinum jubilee. On Thursday, thousands of royal supporters cheered wildly as the Queen joined other senior royals on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch 70 British military planes fly by.
The Queen decided not to attend Friday’s church service after experiencing “some discomfort” during Thursday’s events. She will watch the event on television as Prince Charles replaces her.
The congregation at St. Paul’s includes members of the Royal Family, prominent politicians, diplomats and more than 400 essential workers, charitable volunteers and members of the armed forces who have been invited in recognition of their service to the community.
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell will deliver a sermon. Cottrell intervened after Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby tested positive for COVID-19. The service begins and ends with the ringing of Great Paul, the largest church bell in Britain.
The televised church service on Friday marked the first public appearance of Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, on their anniversary visit to Britain.
The couple, who gave up their royal duties and moved to California two years ago, kept a low profile on Thursday, appearing only in photos shot through the windows of the building from which members of the royal family watched the Queen’s Birthday Parade.
But on Friday they took center stage again. As Harry and Meghan walked alone through the long nave of the cathedral, people in the church stretched their necks to look at them.