Prince Charles arrives for Sunday church at Balmoral without the Queen

Prince Charles arrives for traditional Sunday church service at Balmoral without the Queen, 96, as she remains at home amid ongoing fears for her health

  • Prince Charles was pictured attending a Sunday church service near Balmoral
  • Members of the royal family have been going to Crathie Kirk during the summer
  • However, the Queen – a devout worshipper – has not been pictured at a service
  • It comes after concerns over Her Majesty’s health  and mobility in recent months

Prince Charles cut a lonely figure this morning as he was spotted at a traditional Sunday church service at Balmoral without the Queen she remained at home.

Her Majesty, who has been staying at in the Scottish highlands on her summer break since July, was not among the congregation at the weekly service at Crathie Kirk today.

The monarch, who has been a regular attendee at the small church while staying at the royal estate in previous year, has not been seen in public since travelling up to her summer retreat in July.

In recent weeks various members of the royal family have been seen making the short journey to the small church while staying at the royal estate. 

These include Prince Edward, Lady Louise Windsor and Vice Admiral Sir Time Laurence, with Prince Charles spotted at today’s service on his own. 

However, the monarch, who has been a regular attendee in the past, has not been pictured attending any services at the venue since travelling up for her summer retreat in July. 

In recent months the 96-year-old has cancelled a number of appointments due to concerns over her mobility and health.

This includes swearing in the new Prime Minister the Scottish castle this week in a break with tradition after deciding not to travel back down to London for the ceremony.

Prince Charles was pictured leaving traditional Sunday church service at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral this morning

The Queen has attended the service in the past, but has not been pictured since arriving at the royal estate on July 21 (pictured)

In previous years Her Majesty has been a keen attendee at the small church. Here she is pictured arriving at the church with Lady Louise Windsor in 2019

In the absence of Her Majesty, Charles has been stepping into her role – last week he attended the Braemer Gathering in her stead, raising more concerns about her health.

But insiders say she has stayed away to ensure she is in the best possible health to welcome her 15th Prime Minister at Balmoral on Tuesday.

It will be the first time the Queen has welcomed a new Prime Minister there – but the arrangement is ‘BP [Buckingham Palace] comes to Balmoral’, said an insider.

Despite mobility issues, the Queen is said to be adamant that she will not require Prince Charles to be part of the ceremony. It meant, however, that Her Majesty felt it more prudent to rest yesterday.

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson – stepping down after three years at No 10 – will travel to meet the Queen first. Then, the monarch will hold a private audience with the new Prime Minister in the drawing room at Balmoral. A picture, but no video footage, will be released.

And the next day, a ‘virtual’ meeting of the Privy Council is expected to take place over a video call. The new setting for the ‘kissing of the hands’ meeting was decided to save the 96-year-old monarch from having to make the 1,000-mile round trip to Buckingham Palace.

While the Queen has been resting Charles, who is known in Scotland as the Duke of Rothesay, represented his mother at the Highland Games.

At the Braemar Gathering on Friday, the Prince of Wales used a pair of garden shears to cut a heather rope and unveil a new £80,000 archway to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

Charles and Camilla joined in a round of applause as host Robert Lovie said: ‘We miss her presence.’ 

Peter Fraser, president of the Braemar Royal Highland Society, said: ‘We were sad but understood that the Queen couldn’t come as she has been a worthy patron all these 70 years.’

Her Majesty’s absence comes as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex return to the UK amid a fresh furore over jibes about the royal family.

Concern about the Queen’s health was raised after she failed to attend her beloved Braemar Gathering yesterday, with Prince Charles representing her

Sources claimed that the Queen (pictured in June), who is now 96 and has pulled out of a string of public events in recent months amid ongoing fears for her health, does not ‘want to be on tenterhooks’ and constantly waiting for the ‘next nuclear bomb’

Tensions were raised further last week after an interview which saw Meghan suggest the Sussexes had been forced to move across the Atlantic because ‘by existing, we were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy’.

Speaking to US magazine The Cut, she also claimed her husband had ‘lost’ his father, with sources close to the couple saying this wasn’t a reference to Prince Charles, but her estrangement with her own father.

Royal insiders have branded the interview, which also saw Meghan compare herself to Nelson Mandela, as ‘delusional’ and have expressed concerns about the impact of their comments on the Queen.

One said that the Queen does not ‘want to be on tenterhooks’ and constantly waiting for the ‘next nuclear bomb’.

A friend of Charles said he was hurt by the continued ‘painful’ comments from the pair.

 Sources say the 73-year-old ‘loves and misses’ Harry, Meghan and his grandchildren, Archie and Lilibet, and feels particularly hurt after spending time with them during the Platinum Jubilee in June.

The Duchess of Sussex gave a bombshell interview to The Cut – part of New York magazine

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured with Archie and Lilibet in a Christmas card released on December 23, 2021

Charles is thought to have seen their time together as a ‘minor act of reparation’ after the Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 which saw Harry say he felt ‘really let down’ by his father. 

Coinciding with the launch of her new Spotify podcast, the Duchess of Sussex claimed she had been compared to South African hero Nelson Mandela and claimed Harry had ‘lost’ his father Charles during Megxit.

In her wide-ranging interview with The Cut, running to more than 6,000 words, Meghan said that ‘just by existing’ she and Harry were ‘upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy’ before they stepped down as senior working royals.

She also she said it takes ‘a lot of effort’ to forgive and hinted that she can ‘say anything’ after not signing any confidentiality agreements with the royals.

Sources in royal circles have since hit back at the couple, branding their tirades against life as working royals ‘delusional’ and ‘tragic’ – and sensationally suggesting that they ‘rail against the system as much as they still do’ even after Megxit to sustain public and therefore commercial interest in their ‘brand’.

The couple’s actions also seemingly contradict the public statement they released in January 2020, after reaching a deal with the Queen to leave the royal life, in which they pledged that ‘everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty’.

At the so-called ‘Sandringham Summit’, Harry gave up his military appointments and their public funding was halted, allowing them go to the United States where they have signed multi-million pound deals with the likes of Spotify and Netflix.

Regardless, the Queen has repeatedly said the Sussexes remain ‘much-loved’ by the royal family.

But one source told the Sunday Times: ‘It is hard to see how what they’re doing would equate to the values of the Queen, who has never encouraged people to discuss deeply personal family relationships in public.’

Her communications staff declined to comment when Mail Online asked about the remarks of the palace insiders. A spokesperson for the Sussexes did not immediately respond to an enquiry.

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