The Queen has missed church at Sandringham for the second week running as she continues to recover from a heavy cold.
Hundreds of wellwishers braved the New Year’s Day rain in the hope of catching a glimpse of the 90-year-old monarch, who has not been seen publicly since before Christmas.
Buckingham Palace officials confirmed shortly before the service that she would not be attending.
But the Princess Royal, who was among several members of the Royal Family to attend the service at the St Mary Magdalene Church, also told wellwishers her mother was feeling better.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who also had a cold in the run-up to Christmas, did attend church, but was driven to the service instead of walking.
Palace officials have stressed that the Queen is continuing to work on official papers despite her illness.
On Tuesday, she sent a message of condolence to the president of Turkey following the terrorist attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, in which 39 people were killed.
The sovereign has also sent a special message to the people of Canada marking the 150th anniversary of the confederation of the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia into a single dominion, which was the first step towards the formation of the modern nation.
It said: “Throughout the years, particularly since your Centennial year, I have watched Canada develop into a remarkable nation.
“You have earned a reputation as a welcoming, respectful and compassionate country.
“On this eve of national celebrations, my family and I are with you in spirit.”
It was also reported on Wednesday that the Queen had invested Ray Wheaton, the Queen’s Page of the Chambers, with the insignia of a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, (LVO).
The honour, which is given personally by the Queen, recognises the recipient’s personal service to the monarch or other members of the Royal Family.