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Royals

Why Queen Elizabeth Is Leaning on Her Sons Now More Than Ever

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With Prince Philip‘s announcement of his upcoming retirement from royal duties, Queen Elizabeth has been relying on her sons Prince Charles and Prince Andrew more than ever before.

And with the recent hospitalization of the 96-year-old royal due to an infection, this week has seen Charles and Andrew fill their father’s role alongside their mother.

On Tuesday, Philip was by the Queen’s side at the Royal Ascot races, but he was hospitalized later that evening for treatment of an infection from a pre-existing condition. He was released from the hospital on Thursday, but had to miss the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday.

Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty
Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty
CARL COURT/AFP/Getty

Charles stepped in last minute, appearing on the throne next to the Queen. Philip’s absence wasn’t the only big change during the event. As the palace previously noted, this year’s State Opening was a scaled-down affair with “reduced ceremonial elements.” She and Charles arrived by car instead of the ornate Diamond Jubilee State Coach. And she wore a blue suit instead of the traditional robe and sparkling 3-lb. Imperial State Crown, which was carried in on a velvet pillow.

And on Thursday, the Queen’s second-eldest son, Prince Andrew, accompanied her on the third day of the Royal Ascot races. While Philip recovered at home after being released from the hospital, Andrew joined his mother in the traditional carriage procession to the horse race.

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty

And the Queen looked fresh as ever — despite her hectic schedule — in a fuchsia coat and matching hat.

Last year, the monarch, 91, also announced that she was passing on some of her patronages to other members of the royal family. Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry have already begun to take over some of those duties.

And in December, the Queen and Prince Philip canceled public appearances after suffering from heavy colds. The nonagenarian war veteran has had several minor bouts of illness in recent years – but has always bounced back to stand by the Queen’s side.

And while Philip is getting ready for some hard-earned retirement, the Queen has showed no real signs of slowing down.

But she has an entire royal family of loyal supporters behind her when she does.