Prince Edward forced to pull out of Nato reception with Kate Middleton and the Queen

Edward was absent from the royal reception on Tuesday evening

Prince Edward was due to attend the Nato reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, along with many members of the royal family, including the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Anne. However, the monarch's youngest son was forced to pull out of the event last minute due to illness. It had earlier been revealed that his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, was also unable to go as she had prior work commitments. Prince William was also missing as he is currently on a royal tour of Kuwait and Oman, while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently on a six-week break from royal duties.

Prince Edward was unable to attend the Naso reception due to illness

Edward was last seen out over the weekend with his daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, 16. The pair were pictured horse riding together in Windsor on Sunday afternoon – a sport much loved by the entire family. Edward and Sophie are also parents to son James Viscount Severn, 11. The royal family were joined on Tuesday night by world leaders at the lavish Nato reception, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Macron.

MORE: Kate Middleton sparkles in green at Buckingham Palace

The Queen hosted a lavish reception for world leaders

Another visible absence from the evening was the Duke of York, who has stepped down from royal duties in the aftermath of his Newsnight interview. Prince Andrew made the decision at the end of November, saying in a statement: "It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support. Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.

READ: All the best photos from the Nato reception

The Duchess of Cambridge looked stylish as she chatted to guests

"I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."

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