How is the Queen? Why Queen Elizabeth pulled out of opening of Parliament and who will take her place

Prince Charles will read the Queen’s speech on behalf of the 96-year-old monarch

The Queen will miss the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in nearly 60 years, with the Prince of Wales reading the Queen’s Speech for the first time, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Her Majesty will no longer attend the annual event, which is due to take place on Tuesday (10 May), due to “episodic mobility issues”.

The monarch has been forced to cancel many public engagements over the past few months due to health issues.

This instance marks only the third time that The Queen has missed the State Opening of Parliament since she ascended the throne in 1952, the only other time being while she was pregnant with Prince Andrew in 1959 and Prince Edward in 1963.

Her Majesty came to the throne aged just 25, in 1952.Her Majesty came to the throne aged just 25, in 1952.
Her Majesty came to the throne aged just 25, in 1952.

What has Buckingham Palace said?

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.

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

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.

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

Who will replace the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament?

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 on Monday (9 May).

Symbolically, The Queen’s throne inside the House of Lords will remain empty during the ceremony, with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall sitting in their usual seats.

Prince William will sit on the opposite side of Camilla.

How is the Queen?

After being forced to cancel several public appearances in the past few months, questions have been raised over the health of Her Majesty.

In February 2022, she contracted Covid-1, with Buckingham Palace confirming that she was suffering from “mild cold-like symptoms”.

The Queen was forced to cancel work engagements while she recovered from the virus before picking up engagements virtually.

Since she recovered, the Queen has continued her work but has cut back on in-person activities due to ongoing mobility issues.

She was forced to cancel public appearances at the traditional Maundy Thursday service, the Easter Sunday service and a Commonwealth Day service.

The last time she was seen publicly was on 29 March 2022 at a special commemorative service at Westminster Abbey in memory of her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen has however continued to host official audiences in-person at Winsdor Castle, including meeting heads of state, alongside her virtual engagements.

The monarch made her move to Windsor Castle permanent after initially temporarily moving during the pandemic.

She is due to make public appearances once again as the country prepares to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at the start of June.