Queen Elizabeth reiterated her commitment to a life of service in her Commonwealth Day message on Monday, just days after she revealed she would not be attending the royal service in person amid health troubles.
“In this year of my Platinum Jubilee, it has given me pleasure to renew the promise I made in 1947, that my life will always be devoted in service,” the 95-year-old British monarch said in her statement. “Today, it is rewarding to observe a modem, vibrant and connected Commonwealth that combines a wealth of history and tradition with the great social, cultural and technological advances of our time.”
“That the Commonwealth stands ever taller is a credit to all who have been involved,” the queen said, adding that she has “enjoyed the privilege of hearing what the relationships built across the great reach and diversity of the Commonwealth have meant to people and communities.”
Monday’s holiday is meant to celebrate the Commonwealth, an association of 54 countries, most of them former British colonies. Elizabeth is the formal head of state in 15 Commonwealth nations, including Canada, Australia, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
“In these testing times, it is my hope that you can draw strength and inspiration from what we share, as we work together towards a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future for all,” the queen said Monday. She signed the text of her statement with her usual “Elizabeth R.” (The “R” stands for the Latin word “regina,” meaning “queen.”)
Elizabeth did not attend the Commonwealth Day service at London’s Westminster Abbey on Monday, having canceled her in-person appearance amid ongoing health issues. She tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
“After discussing the arrangements with the Royal Household, The Queen has asked The Prince of Wales to represent Her Majesty at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday,” said the statement announcing the queen’s cancellation, which was shared with HuffPost.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the service on Monday, alongside Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are set to embark on a tour of Commonwealth nations this weekend, visiting Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas on the occasion of the queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, which marks her 70 years on the throne.
The visit is also thought to be a reminder of the Crown’s commitment to the Commonwealth and the Caribbean, as Barbados recently removed the queen as head of state (though the country did not exit the Commonwealth).
Charles, who is the next Head of the Commonwealth, was present at Barbados’ monumental celebrations in November, when the country officially became a republic. The queen passed along a message at the time, calling it “a source of great satisfaction that Barbados remains an active participant within the Commonwealth.”