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Britain's Queen Elizabeth unable to attend NI centenary event on medical grounds

The queen is to stay at Windsor Castle outside London.

Queen Elizabeth II during a previous visit to Northern Ireland in 2012.
Queen Elizabeth II during a previous visit to Northern Ireland in 2012.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Updated Oct 20th 2021, 12:30 PM

BRITAIN’S QUEEN ELIZABETH II will not be in attendance at tomorrow’s church service in Armagh which will mark the centenary of Northern Ireland. 

When it was confirmed last month that President Michael D Higgins would not be in attendance there had been suggestions the queen would be taking part in the event. 

President Higgins had referenced this and had said that he “continues to welcome any opportunities to meet with Her Majesty and members of her family”.

In a statement this morning, Buckingham Palace has said that that the queen had planned to travel to Northern Ireland but now will not do so due to “medical advice”. 

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said:

The Queen has reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days. Her Majesty is in good spirits and is disappointed that she will no longer be able to visit Northern Ireland, where she had been due to undertake a series of engagements today and tomorrow.

The spokesperson added: “The Queen sends her warmest good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland, and looks forward to visiting in the future.”

Press Association is reporting that the decision is understood not to be related to coronavirus and that she is still expected to attend events linked to the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow at the end of the month.

Buckingham Palace would not comment on whether the head of state had received her booster Covid-19 jab, but given her age it is likely she has already had it.

Yesterday, it was revealed the queen had turned down the Oldie of the Year trophy because she feels she does not meet the criteria, believing “you are only as old as you feel”.

The Irish Times is reporting that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend tomorrow’s event. 

President Higgins had declined an invitation to the ceremony saying that the title of the event marking partition and the creation of Northern Ireland “wasn’t a neutral statement politically”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Affairs Simon Coveney and Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers are to represent the Irish government at tomorrow’s event. 

The event is being jointly organised by the main Christian churches on the island of Ireland. The churches have previously said that the “Service of Reflection and Hope” is being held “to mark the centenaries of the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland”. 

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Rónán Duffy

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