Queen Elizabeth II returns to public view after catching COVID to attend service honoring late husband Prince Philip
London — Queen Elizabeth II joined other members of Britain's royal family on Tuesday to give thanks for the life of her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, nearly a year after he died at the age of 99. It was the queen's first public event since testing positive for COVID-19 last month.
The service at the historic Westminster Abbey in central London was billed as a larger celebration of Philip's life after coronavirus restrictions limited the size of his funeral last year.
CBS News correspondent Roxana Saberi said about 1,800 guests were invited to the service, including British and international royalty and members of the charities the prince supported. But the event was as much about the service itself, as it was about who attended — and who didn't.
After a lot of speculation, the queen did attend. The 95-year-old monarch had cut back on her public appearances since spending a night in the hospital last October and catching COVID last month.
"She has mobility issues. Some days are better than others," royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah told Saberi. But she said Tuesday's service may have been the queen's most important engagement in a decade.
"She wanted to be here in order to show her, and pay her respects, to pay tribute and also to thank all the people who've come together to honor him today," she said.
Pandemic restrictions meant only 30 people were allowed inside for Philip's funeral last April. The most memorable image from that ceremony was an iconic shot of the queen sat in a church pew all alone. Even singing was banned at the tiny funeral.
But in addition to full-throated hymns, Tuesday's service gave others the opportunity to honor the Duke of Edinburgh for his lifelong dedication to causes such as youth empowerment and environmental protection.
It was his son Prince Andrew's first public appearance since settling a sexual assault case in the U.S. brought by Virginia Giuffre, who had claimed the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her to Andrew on multiple occasions. Andrew escorted his mother down the aisle to her seat on Tuesday.
While Philip's grandson Prince William and his wife Kate attended with their young children, William's brother Prince Harry and his wife Meghan chose to remain in their adopted home in the U.S.
No longer a working member of the royal family, Harry is in a legal dispute with the British government over security arrangements for him and his young family when they travel to the U.K.
A spokesperson said Harry planned to visit the queen as soon as possible. She has yet to meet Harry and Meghan's daughter Lilibet, who is named after the queen and was born nearly two months after the death of Prince Philip.
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