Queen Elizabeth II pulls out of first public event since her hospitalization


Queen Elizabeth II missed what was scheduled to be her first public appearance since she was hospitalized with a stomach bug last weekend.

The 86-year-old English monarch backed out of the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday as high commissioners from around the globe descended on London for the yearly event.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said the Queen is continuing to recover from her recent illness.

“The Queen hopes to undertake some of her official engagements planned for the rest of this week,” the statement reads.

She is still slated to attend a reception Monday evening, where she is expected to sign a historic charter intended to boost human rights and living standards across the Commonwealth.

“We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds,” the Queen said in a speech posted online Monday morning.

In her speech, the Queen emphasizes that rights must be afforded to everyone, “especially those who are vulnerable.”

The charter represents the first time the Commonwealth has agreed on a single document that details 16 core beliefs common to all member states. It was adopted by all 54 Commonwealth nations in December.

The document is being hailed by some as a sign that the Queen, now in the 61st year of her reign, is shifting to a more progressive tone.

“It’s 2013. Even the monarchy has got to learn to find new ways to relate to the world we live in today,” royal commentator Bonnie Brownlee told CTV News Channel on Monday.

Some British media outlets have said the civil liberties outlined in the charter extend to gay rights, while others have said the language used in the document is deliberately vague.

“In some cases (the Queen) has been criticized for not really saying enough about gay rights,” said Brownlee. “But when you use the terminology that they have used in this charter, pretty much they’re opposed to discrimination against anybody. It’s pretty clear that gay rights are being included.”

The principle of equality, particularly relating to the gay community, poses a challenge to adopt throughout the Commonwealth. In countries such as Bangladesh and Sierra Leone, for example, being found guilty of homosexual acts can result in a sentence of life in prison.

In a statement released Sunday ahead of Commonwealth Day, Gov. Gen. David Johnston said for the first time, the charter brings together Commonwealth citizens’ values and aspirations in one accessible document.

“Democracy, human rights, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, peace, prosperity — we have all expressed our desire and our commitment to these ideals,” he said. “It is now our duty, as members of the Commonwealth, to improve the lives of our people, and to make ours a smarter, more caring world.

Sources by: ctvnews