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Show to go on for royals at jubilee service as Queen watches on TV

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arriving for the National Service of Thanksgiving (Aaron Chown/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arriving for the National Service of Thanksgiving (Aaron Chown/PA)

The royal family will be out in force for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in the Queen’s absence at a special service of thanksgiving.

The Prince of Wales is set to represent his mother after the 96-year-old monarch pulled out of the high-profile occasion at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

She suffered “discomfort” following a busy first day of festivities including a double balcony appearance and a beacon lighting.

The Prince of Wales was the last to arrive
The Prince of Wales was the last to arrive (Toby Melville/PA)

The Queen, 96 and facing ongoing mobility difficulties, will be watching the ceremony on television on Friday as she rests at Windsor Castle.

Thousands turned out on The Mall on Thursday to cheer the jubilee head of state for the start of her bank holiday weekend of commemorations.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be at St Paul’s back in full public view alongside the Windsors for the first time since they quit the monarchy for a new life in the US two years ago.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Lady Sarah Chatto during the service
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Lady Sarah Chatto during the service (PA)

Harry and Meghan attended the Trooping celebrations at Horse Guards on Thursday, but stayed out of the limelight inside the Duke of Wellington’s former office with more than 30 members of the family.

Senior royals attending include Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and extended royal family, although the disgraced Duke of York will be missing after catching Covid.

Tributes will be paid to the Queen’s “70 years of faithful and dedicated service” as 2,000 people including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Cabinet ministers, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, first ministers of the devolved governments and former prime ministers fill the historic church.

Public service is the theme at the heart of the religious event, with 400 people who are recipients of honours, including NHS and key workers who were recognised for their work during the pandemic, invited.

Platinum Jubilee
Wellwishers wait for the arrival of the royal family ahead of the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Archbishop of York will deliver the sermon and has described the prospect as a “slightly terrifying gig”.

The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell had to step in at the 11th hour after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, contracted Covid 19.

He said of the Queen: “I am really sad she is not here because I want to say some personal things to her, thanksgiving for what she has given to our nation, but I am sure she will be watching on the telly.”

Hundreds of people gathered, some wearing Union flag hats and others hanging flags and bunting over the railings on the approach to the cathedral.

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