Queen Elizabeth II attends the Commonwealth Day Service 2020
(Image credit: Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

The Queen's set for yet more sadness this year as she prepares to face a bittersweet reunion with the return of a long-held tradition. 

As Head of State for many Commonwealth nations, the Queen has often marked Commonwealth Day by attending the traditional Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that last year an in-person event wasn’t possible. Though now things are set to change as the official Commonwealth Twitter account revealed that this year will see the return of this significant event. 

Their caption excitedly declared, ‘#CommonwealthDay 2022 will be celebrated on 14 March with a service held at Westminster Abbey and virtual events. Given that it is Her Majesty’s Jubilee Year, there will be a special focus on the role service plays in the lives of people and communities across the #Commonwealth.

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In light of how her Platinum Jubilee (opens in new tab) will be a ‘special focus’ and how she has been in attendance in previous years, it’s thought the Queen could attend once again this year, though this has not officially been confirmed. If she and other royals do attend, this will mark the first time they’ve been able to gather for an in-person Commonwealth Day Service since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though it will also likely be tinged with sadness for Her Majesty for the memories it conjures up. The last Commonwealth Day Service was held at Westminster Abbey on 9th March 2020 and was attended by the Queen and many of those highest in the royal line of succession (opens in new tab).

This included Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Though they were also joined by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for what their last ever engagement as working members of The Firm (opens in new tab)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020

The Sussexes had already announced their intention to “step back” as senior royals (opens in new tab) and though some might’ve hoped they would change their minds, this wasn’t to be. Instead they seem to be enjoying life in their LA home (opens in new tab) and last year confirmed to the Queen they wouldn’t be returning (opens in new tab)

Their expected absence at this year’s service will no doubt be a poignant reminder to the Queen of her beloved grandson and Meghan’s departure from the Royal Family.

This could be especially hard as depending on who joins her, it could possibly be the biggest reunion of royals since Prince Philip’s funeral (opens in new tab) going ahead without these key family members. 

Queen Elizabeth II attends the Commonwealth Day Service 2020

Last year, the Queen appeared in a BBC show to mark Commonwealth Day that aired the same day as Harry and Meghan’s Oprah Interview (opens in new tab). This difficult time following the Sussexes’ revelations could also perhaps come into Her Majesty’s mind ahead of this year’s service.

Whilst this occasion might have upsetting associations for the Queen given it was once Harry and Meghan’s last engagement, as sovereign she'll likely marking it in some meaningful way. Whether that means virtually or via a somewhat bittersweet in-person reunion with the Queen's family remains to be seen.

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.