The Royal Family Will Be Postponing Some Upcoming Engagements

King Charles has just returned to work with a surprisingly packed schedule following weeks away from public-facing duties during his cancer treatment. But the British monarch is now overhauling his diary once again as the announcement of a UK general election has prompted a reassessment of his schedule.

“Following the Prime Minister's statement this afternoon calling a general election, the royal family will, in accordance with normal procedure, postpone engagements that may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement this afternoon. "Their Majesties send their sincere apologies to any of those who may be affected as a result.”

A royal source said that engagements will be reviewed on a case by case basis but made it clear that royal attendance at events to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June will go ahead. Other big events due to happen next month that have yet to be confirmed in the wake of this announcement include the State Visit by the Emperor of Japan as well as the King’s official birthday parade, Trooping the Colour.

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The royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony during last year’s Trooping the Colour parade.Chris Jackson - Getty Images

“Earlier today, I spoke with His Majesty the King, to request the dissolution of Parliament,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said today outside his Downing Street residence. “The King has granted this request, and we will have a general election on 4 July.”

While the monarch’s constitutional role includes appointing Prime Ministers and signing legislation, he does not have any political power. Indeed, the British sovereign is expected to sit above politics and therefore maintain distance as candidates from both sides carry out their public campaigns for election. A reassessment of diaries is likely to involve being mindful of which organizations and individuals the royal family draws attention to at this time.

The number of working royals has been reduced in recent months with the King and Princess of Wales both unable to carry out engagements and Prince William scaling back his schedule to support his family. The King made a return to public duties on April 30 with a visit to a London cancer treatment center. There remains no word on when Kate will be able to resume her public work, although charity projects that she started have continued in her absence.

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King Charles appointed current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak just weeks after taking the throne in 2022. Pool - Getty Images

In a British general election, votes are cast across the country for representatives to become members of parliament in the House of Commons. The political party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons then forms a government and their leader is Prime Minister.

If the UK votes the Conservative Party out of power on July 4 then the Prime Minister will change and King Charles will be appointing the third Prime Minister of his reign. His first was Liz Truss, who was appointed by Queen Elizabeth just two days before she died. Charles appointed Rishi Sunak just six weeks later after Truss resigned and the Conservatives elected a new leader.

Sunak’s competition on July 4 is the leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer. In a speech today, he said calling the election was a “moment the country needs–and has been waiting for…A chance to change for the better.”

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