Queen to miss Opening of Parliament for first time in 60 years

File photo dated 11/05/21 of Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by the Prince of Wales, as she proceeds

The Queen will miss the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in nearly 60 years. Pictured: The Queen with the Prince of Wales at the Opening of Parliament in May 2021. Picture: Richard Pohle/The Times - Credit: PA

Buckingham Palace has announced that the Queen will miss tomorrow's State Opening of Parliament for the first time in nearly 60 years.

The monarch, 96, reluctantly pulled out as she continues to experience “episodic mobility problems” with her doctors advising against attending.

Though the Queen’s main throne will remain empty in the House of Lords, the Prince of Wales will read the Queen’s Speech for the first time.

The move, unprecedented in modern history, will be interpreted as a significant shift in his responsibilities as a king-in-waiting.

The Duke of Cambridge will also attend the State Opening for the first time and the Duchess of Cornwall will accompany Charles.

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.”

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It would be only the third time during her reign that the Queen has not opened parliament – and the first time in 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.

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

The Queen has only been seen outside a royal residence or home on official duties once in the last seven months when she attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in March, using a stick as she walked carefully to her seat.

Many of her light duties are now carried out by video calls, and the nation’s longest reigning sovereign remarked during a recent in-person audience: “Well, as you can see, I can’t move.”

After spending a night in hospital in October, the Queen was given doctors’ orders to rest for three months. She missed the Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph service and Cop26 climate change talks.