Queen to miss State Opening of Parliament for first time in 59 years

·2-min read
Queen to miss State Opening of Parliament for first time in 59 years

The Queen is to miss the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in 59 years, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The Prince of Wales will read the Queen’s Speech on her behalf following a decision taken by the monarch and her doctors.

Buckingham Palace said the monarch, 96, “continues to experience episodic mobility problems” and “reluctantly” decided not to attend as a result.

The Duke of Cambridge, also a future monarch, will also attend the State Opening - the first time William has done so.

State Opening Of Parliament 2022

The Queen’s throne will remain empty in the House of Lords, and the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who is also attending, will sit in their usual seats.

It follows the news that the monarch would miss this year’s royal garden parties when they return this summer.

The Queen has withdrawn from a number of engagements in recent months and has suffered from mobility problems.

In October last year, she was unable to attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph after spraining her back.

The Queen did not attend the the Easter Sunday church service at Windsor Castle's St George's Chapel, but was present at Prince Philip’s memorial service on March 29.

She is understood to have a busy diary at Windsor this week with a call with Australia undertaken on Monday, and a planned virtual Privy Council and phone audience with the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

However, it is expected that she will undertake some private engagements later in the week.

The last time the monarch missed the State Opening of parliament was in 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Edward and her speech was read by the Lord Chancellor.

The Queen and the Prince of Wales in 2019 (PA Archive)
The Queen and the Prince of Wales in 2019 (PA Archive)

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “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.”

A new Letters Patent authorised by the Queen was issued to cover the State Opening delegating to Counsellors of State the royal function of opening a new session of Parliament.

In this instance, it enables Charles and William to jointly exercise that function - though no other functions have been delegated by the Queen.

A No 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister fully respects the wishes of Her Majesty and is grateful to the Prince of Wales for agreeing to deliver the speech on her behalf.”

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