By Michael Holden
LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth made her first public appearance in five months on Tuesday, as she joined the royal family and other dignitaries at a memorial service in honor of her husband, Prince Philip, who died on last year.
Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who stood by his wife for more than seven decades, passed away at his Windsor Castle residence in April, two months shy of his 100th birthday.
Only 30 people were able to attend her funeral due to strict coronavirus rules, which meant the queen had to sit alone as her husband of 73 years was lowered into the Royal Vault of the castle’s St George’s Chapel. .
Tuesday’s thanksgiving service at London’s Westminster Abbey was a much bigger event, with the queen joined by her heir Prince Charles, their son William and his wife Catherine and other members of the royal family, including their sons.
Joining them were foreign kings and queens, friends of the late duke, politicians including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, military officers and more than 500 representatives of charities and the likes of which he championed.
Buckingham Palace said the 95-year-old queen had been actively involved in its planning.
The monarch herself has been forced to scale back her duties since spending a night in hospital for an unspecified illness last October and being advised to rest, and there have been concerns about her health after she canceled several planned engagements since then.
The occasion also marked the first public outing for his second son, Prince Andrew, since making an undisclosed payment to settle a lawsuit in the United States over allegations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl decades ago, claims he denied.
Prince Harry, who has moved to the United States with his wife Meghan, did not attend the service after a disagreement with the government over security protection.
(Additional reporting by Kate Holton; Spanish editing by Carlos Serrano)