Why This Year's Festival Of Remembrance Looked Different For The Royal Family

The 2021 Festival of Remembrance looked quite different, with many notable faces in the royal family not in attendance. With family strife, death, and illnesses, the British royal family has changed a lot in the past two years. Even the queen herself was absent from the November 13 event, but there were still a few royal family members there to ring in the special occasion. 

The Festival of Remembrance is an annual event held in honor of members of the armed forces who died in military service, recognizing their sacrifices and paying tribute to the family members who remember them, per BBC News. Each year, the royal family joins the British people for the festival and expresses their support. But this time around, there were significantly fewer royals there. With the death of Prince Philip in April and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal exit, the royal box was already set to be smaller than usual. But in a surprising turn of events, Queen Elizabeth II also missed Remembrance Day

Buckingham Palace released a statement in late October explaining her position. "The doctors have advised that Her Majesty can continue to undertake light, desk-based duties during this time, including some virtual audiences, but not to undertake any official visits," the statement read, via Hello!. "Her Majesty regrets that this means she will be unable to attend the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday November 13."

The royal family at Remembrance Day

Following her absence at Remembrance Day, Queen Elizabeth II originally still intended to attend the Festival of Remembrance. Unfortunately, she was unable to do so. Buckingham Palace released a statement about the Remembrance Sunday Service, citing further health issues. "The queen, having sprained her back, has decided this morning with great regret that she will not be able to attend today's Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph. Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service," the statement read, via CNN. She has been advised to take an additional two days of rest.

Queen Elizabeth was absent, but many other members of the royal family did attend. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra packed into the royals' box and were seen clapping throughout the event, per the Daily Mail. Prince Charles placed a wreath in Queen Elizabeth's stead. 

The royal family has endured a lot in recent years, and the dwindled gathering at the Remembrance Day Festival highlighted the changes. Both Prince Harry and Prince Andrew have stepped down from their royal duties and weren't at the event. But those who did attend showed the support that the U.K. has come to expect on this day each year.