The Queen has had to pull out of the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in 59 years.
The State Opening of Parliament was due to take place on 10 May, and is said to be one of the most important public duties for the 96-year-old royal, as it involves her Queen’s Speech, which details the government’s policies and legislation for the new parliamentary session.
However, plans have had to be tweaked last minute, as Her Majesty has had to bow out of the royal engagement due to mobility issues, which has been a growing health concern over recent months.
Prince Charles and his son Prince William will step in for the monarch to read her speech.
Though this will be the first time the Duke of Cambridge has attended the State Opening of Parliament, it has been agreed the Sovereign’s Throne in the House of Lords will remain empty as the Queen watches from her home in Windsor, where she recently moved to for good.
The Queen has only ever missed this engagement twice in her life, in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, and 2022 will mark the third absence.
It has been touch and go whether the Queen would attend, but Buckingham Palace has now confirmed she will be absent for the occasion because it would be physically gruelling as she will need to walk into the chamber.
In recent weeks, it has been reported the Queen has relied on a walking stick to attend royal engagements, and subsequent measures are in place for the upcoming Trooping the Colour and Platinum Jubilee celebrations to ensure her comfort on the day, but today’s event could still be taxing for her.
However, the decision to pull out of the State Opening of Parliament the Queen “reluctantly” agreed to because of her “episodic mobility problems, which has seen her forego Easter celebrations, and almost opt out of the late Prince Philip’s memorial service.
A spokesperson said: “The Queen continues to experience episodic mobility problems and in consultation with her doctors has reluctantly decided that she will not attend the State Opening of Parliament tomorrow.
“At Her Majesty’s request, and with the agreement of the relevant authorities, the Prince of Wales will read the Queen’s Speech on Her Majesty’s behalf, with the Duke of Cambridge also in attendance.”