The Queen will miss the State Opening of Parliament with Charles to take her place

9 May 2022, 18:22 | Updated: 10 May 2022, 07:53

The Queen is to miss the State Opening of Parliament
The Queen is to miss the State Opening of Parliament. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The Queen is to miss the State Opening of Parliament, and the Prince of Wales will read the Queen's Speech on her behalf, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The monarch, 96, reluctantly pulled out of the major ceremonial occasion as she continues to experience "episodic mobility problems" with royal doctors advising her against attending.

It would be only the third time during her reign that the Queen has not opened parliament - and the first time nearly 60 years.

The exceptions were in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and then Prince Edward, when her speech was read by the Lord Chancellor.

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."

The Queen's throne however, will remain empty with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall sitting in their usual seats.

William will sit on the opposite side to Camilla and the Imperial State Crown will still travel to Parliament.

Read more: Prince William and Kate 'want to be known by first names not royal titles'

he Queen will miss the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in nearly 60 years
he Queen will miss the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in nearly 60 years. Picture: Alamy

During the speech, in which the Government's ambitions and aims are laid out, eco protesters who lock themselves on to targets and make it hard for police to move them will be targeted with new punishments.

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. No other functions have been delegated by the Queen. The decision was taken today.

The episodic mobility issues are said to be a continuation of the problems the Queen has suffered since the autumn.

As Charles takes on the head of state's major constitutional duty for the first time, the move - believed to be unprecedented in modern history - will be interpreted as a significant shift in his responsibilities as a king in waiting.

The Queen 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.

Read more: Why does the Queen have two birthdays? And when does she celebrate them?

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."

She is expected to undertake some private engagements later in the week.

The speech is written by ministers and details the Government's plans for new laws and is typically read by the Queen in the House of Lords as part of the ceremonial opening of Parliament.

The Government is expected to use the speech to bring forward changes to Northern Ireland's post-Brexit trading arrangements.