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Prince Charles to deliver Queen’s speech for first time

Prince Charles is to read the Queen’s Speech on her behalf for the first time, after the 96-year-old monarch pulled out due to mobility problems.

The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge will open Parliament, after the Queen granted special permission.

It will be Prince William’s first state opening, and he and Prince Charles will be accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall.

It is the firs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . time since 1963 that the Queen will not deliver the speech.

At that time, she was pregnant with Prince Edward, and it was instead read by the Lord Chancellor.

The Queen’s main throne will remain empty in the House of Lords on Tuesday.

A rule change known as a Letters Patent was authorised by the monarch to delegate the opening of Parliament after it was decided on Monday that Prince Charles would take the Queen’s place.

Is this a glimpse of the future for such major royal events, with Prince Charles stepping in for the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament?

It follows the pattern since the Queen started to struggle with her mobility last autumn.

Since then, Charles has taken on the main role in many set-piece royal occasions, including Remembrance Sunday, the Commonwealth Service and the Maundy Service.

The State Opening is one of the biggest constitutional moments for the head of state and that the Queen hasn’t missed one for 59 years suggests the major significance of handing it over.

Although the Queen has been carrying out duties from Windsor Castle, the only public event she has attended this year outside of royal residences has been Prince Philip’s thanksgiving service.

Prince Charles and Prince William are opening Parliament in their roles as “counsellors of state”, the four senior royals allowed to act on behalf of the monarch.

It raises the issue once again that the other two counsellors are Prince Andrew and Prince Harry, who are no longer working royals.

If Prince Charles or William had been unable to attend, for instance if they had Covid or were abroad, it could have made for some tricky constitutional questions.

Prince Charles and Prince William are counsellors of state – the category of royal that includes the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21.

Buckingham Palace said on Monday that the decision to pull out had been taken in consultation with the Queen’s doctors, as she continues to experience “episodic mobility problems”.

The Palace said in a statement: “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.”

 

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