With the Queen forced to withdraw on Monday due to repeated mobility issues, the 73-year-old Charles arrived at the Palace of Westminster to read the government’s legislative agenda.
Charles, who had attended the opening of Parliament at his mother’s side in recent years, began to read each bill by saying: “Her Majesty’s Government…”
Before the event, there was a mixture of confusion among those in the House of Lords as to whether or not Charles would sit next to the ceremonial throne. When he arrived and sat on the throne, there was an audible surprise among those who were watching in person.
The program for the day offered to those with tickets to sit in the House of Lords has not been updated to reflect the fact that the Queen will not attend herself, leaving some uncertainty about exactly how the day’s events will unfold.
The official opening of Parliament is an event of grandiose pomp and Queen’s Festival that traditionally sees the Queen travel to the Assembly in a state coach, accompanied by soldiers riding in ceremonial uniforms, while the Imperial State Crown and other regalia travel in the chariot of their King.
The Queen wears the robe of state before leading a procession to the upper chamber of the House of Lords where she sits on the throne and formally opening a new session of Parliament, reading a letter written by the government outlining its legislative plans.
The Queen has missed the occasion only twice during her 70-year reign – in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with her sons Andrew and Edward.
The Queen, who has missed a number of public engagements since being hospitalized for one night last October with an unspecified illness, had to issue “patent letters” authorizing Charles and William to play their part in the constitutional event.
Traditionally, government and opposition leaders use the Queen’s Speech as a time to put aside their differences and chat amicably as they walk from the House of Commons to the House of Lords. However, Starmer and Johnson’s eyes were fixed forward and exchanged few – if any – words.
“Writer. Evil travel maven. Avid creator. Proud beer expert. Music lover. Explorer.”