LONDON ( Associated Press) – Queen Elizabeth II handed one of her most important public duties to Prince Charles on Tuesday, underscoring the increasingly central role of the heir to the throne as his mother prepares to celebrate 70 years on the throne. does.
Charles presided over the state opening of Parliament and delivered the Queen’s speech, presenting the government’s legislative program. The event symbolizes the monarch’s constitutional role as head of state and is in line with a centuries-long tradition to demonstrate the strength of Britain’s political institutions.
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The Queen’s decision to hand over her role to Charles can be seen by the public as evidence that a transition is underway, with the 96-year-old monarch remaining on the throne but passing more responsibilities to her eldest son. Huh.
The choreography of the day emphasized a queen who was absent and yet present. His throne was removed, but in its place the crown of the imperial state rested on a pillow. Charles, wearing the uniform of an admiral of the fleet, shone in a gold cloak instead of the broad omen robe.
He was accompanied by his wife the Duchess of Cornwall and their son Prince William. In short, it was all about the dynasty.
Ed Owens, a royal historian and author of “The Family Firm”, said, “I think the emphasis here was clearly on continuity, the symbolic presence of Elizabeth II, if not the physical presence, and what the future would likely be.” The Monarchy, the Mass Media and the British People 1932–1953.
What is the Queen’s speech?
The speech is given during the formal opening of each session of Parliament and presents the government’s legislative program.
It is written by the elected government, currently led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and is read at a joint sitting of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
The monarch traditionally arrives for the event in a horse-drawn carriage, sits on the Sovereign’s throne in the House of Lords and wears the Imperial State Crown.
But Charles, 73, arrived by car and did not sit on the throne of the sovereign, which was deposed, but on the throne of the wife, which was used by his late father, Prince Philip. The crown of the royal kingdom was placed on a velvet pillow at the place where the queen’s throne is normally kept.
Charles spoke in the third person, using “His Majesty’s Government”.
Why did Elizabeth decide to leave the speech?
Buckingham Palace did not elaborate on what it called an “episodic mobility problem”, but the Queen has had difficulty moving around in recent months. She has been seen using a cane on a few occasions and Prince Andrew took her to Westminster Abbey for Prince Philip’s memorial service last month.
The event involves more than just reading a speech. There is a long walk to the House of Lords, the stairs up to the throne, and the need to climb in and out of carriages as in previous years. All these obstacles can present challenges for the sovereign.
Elizabeth, who has recently recovered from a bout of COVID-19, is preparing for a four-day celebration of her Platinum Jubilee which is scheduled for June 2-5.
Has the queen ever memorized the speech before?
Yes. In 1959, when she was in the final stages of pregnancy with Prince Andrew, and again in 1963, before the birth of Prince Edward.
On both those occasions, Parliament was opened by a royal commission, with a speech by the presiding member.
So what’s different this time?
This year the Queen formally asked Prince Charles to deliver a speech under rules that allow him to delegate some of his duties to senior members of the royal family who are considered “advisors of the kingdom”. State advisers were required to act in pairs, so Charles was accompanied by his eldest son, Prince William.
Since duties have been delegated to Charles, there was less disruption to the ceremonial aspects of the day.
Robert Hazel, Professor of Government and Constitution at University College London, said the public should be able to take comfort from the continuum represented by Charles’ presence.
“Yes, we are, indeed, preparing for a transition,” he told the Associated Press. “The Queen is in her mid-90s. She won’t be around forever. We are nearing the final years of her reign, and during those final years, if she is no longer able to appear in public, the Prince Charles may deputize on his behalf.”