Queen Elizabeth to Miss Opening of Parliament for Just the Third Time Ever Due to 'Mobility Problems'

The Queen’s speech will be delivered by Prince Charles and Prince William will also attend

Queen Elizabeth Sporting the Crown Through the Years
Queen Elizabeth . Photo: getty

Queen Elizabeth will miss the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday due to "mobility problems," Buckingham Palace announced on Monday.

Her absence marks just the third time she's missed the traditional occasion during her 70-year reign. (Her first two absences occurred when she was pregnant.) Her son, Prince Charles, and grandson, Prince William, will attend on her behalf. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will also be in attendance.

"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," Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Monday.

"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 statement concluded.

The Queen has been experiencing mobility issues in recent months and finds it difficult to stand for long periods. Her Majesty has been using a walking cane and even complained about mobility problems, joking during an in-person meeting: "Well, as you can see, I can't move!"

Queen Elizabeth Sporting the Crown Through the Years
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. getty

She also recently shared a small glimpse into her battle with COVID-19 earlier this year, revealing that "it does leave one feeling very tired and exhausted."

The Queen delegated her royal duty of opening a new session of Parliament to her son and grandson via a letter patent, which enables the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge to jointly exercise that function. No other functions have been delegated by Her Majesty, according to the palace.

Charles will read the Queen's Speech as a Counsellor of State. William is also attending as a Cousellor of State since two Counsellors of State are required to perform any of the Queen's constitutional duties.

The palace has consistently announced the Queen's attendance or absence from planned events just hours before her expected arrival in recent months.

While she won't be at the State Opening of Parliament, the Queen has a busy schedule this week. She undertook a call with Australia on Monday and has a planned Privy Council and Prime Minister audience on Wednesday. She's also expected to undertake some private engagements later in the week, according to the palace.

The Queen's annual garden parties will kick off this week at Buckingham Palace, but the monarch will not be in attendance. Other members of the royal family will greet some of the 8000 guests who gather on the back lawns of the palace in central London.

Queen Elizabeth II attends an audience with the President of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis (Not pictured) at Windsor Castle on April 28, 2022 in Windsor, England.
Queen Elizabeth. Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty

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Last year, the State Opening in May was the first major engagement outside Windsor Castle for the Queen since the death of her beloved husband Prince Philip in April 2021.

The Queen hasn't been wearing the heavy Imperial Crown for the ceremony for several years. In 2019, when there were two State Opening of Parliaments, due a general election, she pared back much of the pomp and ceremony that dates back to the 16th century.

Instead of wearing her State Robe — the heavy 18-foot-long crimson velvet cape that weighs more than 15 lbs. — the Queen wore a day dress and hat, much like she did in 2017 when the opening of Parliament was also delayed due to the general election. She also opted not to wear the historic Imperial State Crown.

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