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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Saturday, 1 September, 2001, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Queen Mother misses games
The Royal Family enjoy the Highland games
The Queen Mother makes every effort to attend
The Queen Mother has failed to put in her customary appearance at the Braemar Gathering on the advice of doctors.

The 101-year-old had hoped to attend the annual Highland games with other members of the Royal Family on Saturday.

However, shortly before the royal party was due to arrive Buckingham Palace said the Queen Mother had decided not to come following medical advice.

A spokeswoman for the royal, who underwent a blood transfusion for anaemia last month, said she would have been unable to climb the steps leading to the Royal Pavilion.

Prince Charles and Prince Harry
Prince Charles with son Harry at last year's event
She said: "It is entirely up to her whether she attends or not, but the doctors told her to rest.

"The approach to where the Royal Family watch the event is also quite steep and would logistically it would have been quite difficult for her to get there.

"There was always a question mark over whether she would attend once she went into hospital and she has decided to rest at home instead."

The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince William and the Countess of Wessex - for the first time - all attended the event.

In 1999 the Queen Mother missed her first Braemar Gathering in 20 years after suffering a bout of flu.

The event is the traditional grand finale of the Highland Games circuit, but for many people the greatest attraction is the arrival of the Royal party from nearby Balmoral.

The Royal Family has attended the Braemar Gathering since 1848.

But the event has had competition over recent years from the Lonach Gathering, which attracts celebrities such as Billy Connolly, Robin Williams, Steve Martin and Ewan MacGregor.

Last week it attracted a record attendance of 13,000.

Police warned the 20,000 attending the games to allow extra time for their journey because of the expected traffic congestion.

The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"There was one notable absentee - and one notable debutante"
See also:

29 Mar 01 | Scotland
Plans for Highland event go ahead
03 Sep 00 | Scotland
Blairs join Royal family at church
04 Sep 99 | Scotland
Queen Mother misses Highland Games
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