On November 12, Queen Elizabeth and a number of other royals attended the annual Remembrance Sunday service to honor fallen soldiers. For the first time ever, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watched the ceremony from the balcony of the nearby Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the 91-year-old monarch was seen wiping away a tear.
In major break with royal tradition, the Queen did not herself lay a wreath at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony. Instead, the monarch asked her son Prince Charles to take her place at the Cenotaph in London, while she and the Duke of Edinburgh looked on. An equerry placed a wreath on behalf of the 96-year-old Duke, who retired earlier this year.
The Queen and Prince Philip on the balcony watching the Annual Remembrance Sunday service on November 12, 2017.
Although the Queen has missed Remembrance Sunday memorials in previous years, this was the first time she was present at the service but did not lay a wreath herself. She has skipped only six services during her reign, including during a 1983 trip to Kenya when Charles stepped in on behalf of his mother.
The Queen was also absent from the ceremony due to overseas visits in 1961, 1968, and 1999. The Duke of Edinburgh represented his wife when she was expecting her two youngest children, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, in 1959 and 1963.
Prince Charles lays a wreath on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.
An aide close to the royal family said the Duke was determined to attend the ceremony, and the Queen chose to be by her husband's side, The Telegraph reported. “The Queen wishes to be alongside the Duke of Edinburgh and he will be in the balcony," said the source. Other members of the family, including the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Countess of Wessex, often watch the service from the balcony.
The Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, also watched the ceremony from the balcony with The Queen.
The Queen's decision to hand over the role to her eldest son highlights the increasing number of duties being carried out by Charles and other royals. Prince William, who became a full-time royal earlier this year, has also increased his workload following his grandfather's retirement in August.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.