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Queen to embark on series of major events in Jubilee show of strength

Queen to embark on series of major events in Jubilee show of strength

he Queen will embark on a series of major events and public duties in a busy schedule ahead of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations this summer, the Evening Standard understands.

The 95-year-old monarch, who privately celebrated 70 years on the throne on Sunday, has told staff she is determined to carry on working hard right up to the official festivities in June, according to palace sources.

She was advised to rest by doctors after a health scare last year, which forced her to spend a night in hospital. But she will return to public life in the run-up to the jubilee weekend — which will include a memorial service for her late husband Prince Philip on March 29, shortly before the anniversary of his death last April.

Other engagements that the Queen plans to attend in person include the Diplomatic Reception at Windsor Castle on March 2 and the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 14. She will also be resuming her normal duties of audiences and privy council meetings in a mix of both virtual and in-person events. Sources said she had told staff she wanted to get out amongst her people.

The Queen’s last major public outing was in Cardiff on October 14 — more than 100 days ago. One aide told the Standard: “Her Majesty once said she has to be seen to be believed. She will certainly be seen.”

The renewed commitment comes the day after an Accession Day message that she signed off “Your servant, Elizabeth R”, making it clear she would continue to serve as monarch. In a symbolic image also released yesterday the Queen was photographed working on official papers in her red boxes at Sandringham.

In a message released to mark her accession, she said: “It is a day that, even after 70 years, I still remember as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign. As we mark this anniversary, it gives me pleasure to renew to you the pledge I gave in 1947, that my life will always be devoted to your service.”

In the message, the Queen also gave Camilla her blessing to be called “Queen Consort” when Charles becomes king, addressing sensitive issues that will have to be resolved after her death.

The Queen and Prince Philip at St Paul’s Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving held in honour of her 80th birthday in 2006

/ Tim Graham/Getty Images

The celebrations were continuing on Monday with two gun salutes. At noon, 41 rounds were fired in Green Park followed by a 62-round salute at the Tower of London at 1pm. At next month’s special service of thanksgiving for “the life of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh” at Westminster Abbey, the Queen will be joined by Charles and Camilla and other senior royals.

The abbey played an important role in the life of Philip, who was married to Princess Elizabeth there on November 20, 1947.

The royal couple celebrated their silver, golden and diamond wedding anniversaries with services in the abbey. In 1956, Philip set up the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the 60th anniversary of which was celebrated at a special service in November 2016. He was also president and chairman of the Westminster Abbey Trust, set up in 1973 to raise funds for the restoration of the exterior.

The Diplomatic Reception, which takes place annually, sees the Queen and other members of the royal family welcome more than 500 members of the Diplomatic Corps and has traditionally been held in the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.

The Commonwealth Service was cancelled in 2021, for the first time in half a century, due to pandemic restrictions and replaced by a televised special, A Celebration for Commonwealth Day.

The Queen made a speech at the beginning of the broadcast which celebrated all those who had worked on the front line of healthcare and public services during the Covid-19 crisis.

During the 2020 service, the Queen was joined by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the abbey.