Queen Elizabeth Appears in First Public Photos Since Heading to Scotland in July

The Queen was most recently seen leaving for Balmoral Castle, just days after an engagement with daughter Princess Anne

Queen Elizabeth II waits in the Drawing Room before receiving newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle
Queen Elizabeth on her final engagement - September 2022. Photo: Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth is back in front of the camera.

A new solo photo of the monarch, 96, was released Tuesday, just before she appointed Conservative Party leader Liz Truss as the new prime minister. In the image, the Queen beamed before a crackling fire in the Drawing Room of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, holding a walking cane and her go-to black handbag.

Tuesday's meetings marked the first time Queen Elizabeth has been seen by the public in six weeks. In late July, she was spotted leaving her royal residence of Windsor Castle for her Balmoral estate, where she traditionally spends the late summer months.

Just days before, the Queen and Princess Anne stepped out for a surprise engagement. The mother-daughter duo headed to Maidenhead to open the new 28-bed Thames Hospice building. There, the Queen animatedly chatted with patient Pat White, also speaking with staff and volunteers during a tour.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with patient Pat White during a visit to officially open the new building of Thames Hospice in Maidenhead, Berkshire
Queen Elizabeth. KIRSTY O'CONNOR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Truss, 47, becomes the third and youngest woman to be elected the U.K.'s prime minister — and the first not to formally meet the Queen in England after election in the royal's 70-year reign. The monarch has been experiencing episodic mobility issues, and a source tells PEOPLE that the decision was made to host Tuesday's audiences as Balmoral to provide certainty for schedules.

In addition to inviting Truss to become prime minister and form a government in her name, Queen Elizabeth also met with outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the castle for a formal farewell.

Queen Elizabeth II, left, welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland
Queen Elizabeth and Liz Truss. Jane Barlow/AP/Shutterstock

Appointing the prime minister is one of the Queen's key duties, one she wouldn't delegate to her son and heir, Prince Charles. Charles, 73, has been undertaking an increasing number of roles on the monarch's behalf in recent months.

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Although she met her first prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill, when she stepped off the plane that brought her back from Kenya to Britain following the death of her father, King Geroge VI, in 1952, all others have gone to see her at the palace.

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