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Prince Charles and Prince William were in the spotlight of parliament opening at the Palace of Westminster as Queen Elizabeth, 96, skipped the grand event for the first time in nearly six decades with health issues.
Prince Charles sported an admiral’s uniform from a throne to read out the agenda. It was the first time he had taken this constitutional duty.
Customarily, the Queen transits to the parliamentary assembly in a State Coach and is chaperoned by uniformed soldiers. At the same time, the Imperial State Crown travels earlier in their carriage.
The monarch put on the Robe of State and walked to the upper chamber House of Lords, while the Queen sat on a throne and opened a parliament session, reading a speech composed by the state summarizing its legislative programs.
Due to mobility issues, the Queen withdrew on Monday, and the 73-year-old Prince Charles arrived at the Westminster Palace to read the legislative plan.
Before the occasion, the Chamber of the House of Lords was unsure whether Prince Charles would sit next to the ceremonial throne. When he came on the scene and sat on the throne, everyone was surprised.
Since Queen missed several public engagements after she was hospitalized last October, she issued a Letters Patent authorizing Prince Charles and Prince William to carry out the role in her stead at the constitutional event.
The event was significant in British politics, as the Partygate scandal continued to plague Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Keir Starmer said that if Johnson broke COVID rules during an election campaign, he should resign. Johnson was already issued a fine and paid. Starmer’s intervention raised serious queries about whether Johnson should leave or not.
Government and opposition leaders traditionally use the Queen’s Speech to put their disparities aside. Yet, Johnson and Starmer only exchanged a few words and had their eyes firmly fixed ahead.
A palace source said Queen Elizabeth had tasked no other functions. She is next anticipated to be in public during her Platinum Jubilee celebration in June.
Buckingham Palace said the Queen planned to attend the most significant events during the celebrations last week, but no confirmation of her presence until today.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Sheena Robertson
CNN: Prince Charles delivers Queen’s Speech for the first time; by Reuters and Luke McGee
ABC News: Prince Charles opens parliament, delivers Queen’s speech for the first time
BBC News: Prince Charles to deliver Queen’s Speech for first time; by Natasha Preskey