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Queen to miss Parliament opening speech

Queen Elizabeth II to Miss Opening of Parliament on Tuesday

SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks with staff during a visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

(Bloomberg) -- Queen Elizabeth II will miss the state opening of U.K. Parliament on Tuesday due to “episodic mobility problems,” her office said.

By Ellen Milligan

Word Count: 380
The Queen’s Speech laying out the government’s agenda for the next parliamentary session will now be delivered for the first time by Elizabeth’s son and heir, Prince Charles, Buckingham Palace said late on Monday in an emailed statement. The decision was made in consultation with doctors.It’s only the third time that the Queen, 96, will miss the set-piece in her 70-year reign, having previously missed it twice due to pregnancy. It’s also the latest instance of the elderly monarch dialing back on her commitments amid signs of increasing frailty.

In October, Elizabeth canceled plans to visit the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, and the following month, she was unable to attend the annual Remembrance Day service after the palace announced she had sprained her back. Then in February, she contracted Covid-19, suffering what the palace described as mild, “cold-like” symptoms.

The Queen has also been seen walking with the aid of a stick, and missed a number of events last month, including the Maundy Service, a religious event, in which Prince Charles stepped in to represent her. She’s also set to miss the annual season of garden parties at Buckingham Palace this year, being represented by other members of the Royal Family. Her husband, Prince Philip, died last year, two months before what would have been his 100th birthday.

Nevertheless, the Queen is continuing with some duties, including a call to Australia on Monday and a planned virtual Privy Council and phone audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, according to Press Association. She’s also expected to undertake some private engagements later in the week. The country is due to hold nationwide celebrations next month to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

Johnson’s government has previously said the Queen’s Speech will focus on its plans to grow the economy, cut the cost of living and clear Covid backlogs. It’s also expected to include a reference to the Northern Ireland protocol as well as new laws for energy to enable a fast build out of renewables and nuclear power stations. Charles’s son, Prince William — who’s second in line to the throne — will also attend.

(Updates with details starting in fourth paragraph.)
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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