Royal role reversals. Queen Elizabeth II missed the opening of Parliament amid health concerns, with Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla, and Prince William attending in her place, Us Weekly can confirm.
“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,” a statement from Buckingham Palace read 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 96-year-old monarch has attended each opening day since 1952, with the exception of 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, respectively. The event typically includes a speech delivered by the Queen and formally marks the beginning of the British Parliamentary session.
Elizabeth’s absence from the royal engagement follows a series of health scares, including her brief October 2021 hospital stay. At the time, she was being monitored “for some preliminary investigations,” per the palace, and she received plenty of support from her loved ones.
“[Duchess] Kate sent the queen a huge bouquet of flowers from her family,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly last fall. “George, Charlotte, and Louis made ‘get well soon’ cards.”
The rest of the royals were “concerned” despite Her Majesty’s insistence that she was “fine and doing well,” the insider added. “She’s not a quitter and will continue working but is handing over some of her duties to Charles and William. [She] is preparing them to take over.”
A second insider noted at the time that Prince Harry, who moved to California with Meghan Markle following their step down from their senior duties, was in “panic mode” after learning of his grandmother’s hospital stay. “He felt helpless being 5,000 miles away in Montecito and has been checking in non-stop with her,” the source told Us.
Earlier this year, Elizabeth tested positive for COVID-19 after Charles, 73, and the Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 74, both contracted the virus. The queen has also been spotted using a cane multiple times over the past several months, bringing the walking stick that belonged to her late husband, Prince Philip, to an event in February.
The Queen returned to work in March following her coronavirus battle. As she recovered, a source told Us that Elizabeth felt “extremely thankful” for those who provided her with “emotional and practical support” through it all.
“She’s showed extraordinary courage and is thankful for all the love and support she’s received, and as long as she feels able to work that’s what she’ll continue to [do],” the insider continued. “It’s typical of her selfless character and everyone is just in awe of her resolve and bravery. She’s truly one of a kind and an example to everyone around her.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Us Weekly.