Queen Elizabeth Will Miss Easter Tradition With Royal Family

Queen Elizabeth will reportedly miss the traditional Easter services on Sunday after missing an annual church service on Thursday. Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, represented the royal family in his mother's place during the Maundy Thursday service at St. George's Chapel. The queen, 95, recovering from COVID-19, said she felt "tired and exhausted" after contracting the virus last week.

Charles followed the queen's tradition of giving "Maundy money" to the church and community during Thursday's service. This year, 96 men and 96 women received 96 pence ahead of Queen Elizabeth's 96th birthday next week. A senior royal source told NBC News that Queen Elizabeth will also miss the Easter services on Sunday, which she usually attends.

"It is with regret that she isn't attending," a royal source told PEOPLE last week. The source said the queen could not commit to the event, but the order of service was being printed. The monarch "was keen that the service was confirmed and all the recipients were aware so as to avoid any misunderstanding or overshadowing of the event on the day," the source said.

This was the first time Camilla attended the Maundy Service, coming just a few months after Queen Elizabeth said she wanted Camilla to be known as Queen Consort when Prince Charles becomes king. The Maundy money recipients received two small leather purses, one red and one white. The white purse included 96 Maundy coins, while the red purse included coins symbolizing the queen's gift for food and clothing. According to the Royal Mint's website, the Maundy money tradition among the British royal family dates to the 13th century. This year's coins were specially printed to celebrate the queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Queen Elizabeth continues to perform light duties as the U.K.'s head of state at Buckingham Palace, but her public appearances have become increasingly rare following her health setbacks last fall. In February, Buckingham Palace announced she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and had "mild cold-like symptoms. The queen spoke about her experiences with the illness for the first time during a virtual visit to the Royal London hospital last week, reports the New York Post.

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Queen Elizabeth spoke with Asef Hussain, a former COVID patient who recalled his harrowing experience with the illness. "I'm glad that you're getting better, and It does leave one very tired and exhausted, doesn't it? This horrible pandemic. It's not a nice result," the queen told Hussain. "It obviously was a very frightening experience to have COVID very badly, wasn't it?"

In addition to her 96th birthday, Queen Elizabeth celebrates 70 years on the British throne this year. She is the longest-reigning British monarch in history and the longest-serving incumbent head of state globally.