Her Majesty, who has been battling mobility problems for several months, has reluctantly made the decision not to attend for only the third time in her 70-year reign.
Buckingham Palace had been set to wait until Tuesday morning to make a final decision, with aides having prepared contingency plans that included a ‘discreet wheelchair route’, but it is understood she will not attend due to difficulties walking.
Instead, Prince Charles is set to stand in following discussions between the Queen and her aides. He will be supported by his wife Camilla and Prince William, The Sun reports.
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: ‘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.
‘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 Queen pictured as she gave the 2021 Queen’s Speech in the House of Lords in May last year
The Queen escorted by her son Prince Charles during the State Opening of Parliament at the House of Lords last year. Charles will stand in for his mother tomorrow
The Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during the State Opening of Parliament on October 14, 2019
A No 10 spokesman added: ‘The Prime Minister fully respects the wishes of Her Majesty and is grateful to the Prince of Wales for agreeing to deliver the speech on her behalf.’
It is the first time Her Majesty has missed the opening of Parliament for 59 years.
And she has only missed the event twice in her entire reign – in 1959 and 1963 when pregnant.
On those occasions her speech, setting out the government’s legislative plans for the coming year, was read by the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Kilmuir.
MailOnline understands the Queen had been intending to appear – but Parliamentary officials were braced for a late withdrawal this evening.
She is understood to have a busy diary at Windsor this week with a call with Australia undertaken on Monday, and a planned virtual Privy Council and phone audience with the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
The monarch is also expected to undertake some private engagements later in the week.
It comes days after an announcement that she will not attend any of the summer’s Buckingham Palace garden parties.
The State Opening of Parliament is one of the monarch’s most significant public duties, and involves the reading of the Queen’s Speech outlining the government’s policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
The ceremony was not held in 2020 and last year a reduced capacity Covid-secure state opening of Parliament was staged on May 11 with the Queen present.
There had been speculation about whether the Queen would attend, especially after it was announced she would not be attending the garden party season and instead would be represented by members of her family.
Queen Elizabeth II with Duke of Edinburgh after the State Opening of Parliament on November 17, 1999
Lord Chancellor Viscount Kilmuir, who read the Queen’s Speech when Her Majesty was missing due to being pregnant
The head of state has missed a number of major events this year but has been carrying out virtual engagements and her other duties.
Garden parties will be staged from next week for the first time in three years and are important events in the royal calendar as those who have served their country or communities are invited to the monarch’s home.
Buckingham Palace said: ‘Her Majesty The Queen will be represented by other members of the royal family at this year’s garden parties, with details on attendance to be confirmed in due course.’
The Queen attended a service commemorating the life of the Duke of Edinburgh in March with senior royals and a congregation of hundreds.
She reached her Platinum Jubilee in February, overcame a bout of Covid after testing positive that month, and celebrated her 96th birthday privately on April 21 at her Sandringham estate.
Last October, the Queen spent a night in hospital and spent the following three months under doctors’ orders to only conduct light duties and missed a number of prominent events.
The Queen has been using a walking stick in public since she attended a service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion last October.
Source: Daily Mail