PRINCE Charles was flanked by wife Camilla and son William as he stood in for the Queen at yesterday’s State Opening of Parliament – but royal sources insisted Her Majesty was still “very” in charge.
The absence of the 96-year-old monarch, who has mobility issues, has prompted fears she would never be able to resume her duties as head of state or return to her speech outlining government priorities.
But sources from across the royal palaces yesterday were quick to rule out any suggestion that heir Charles, 73, was acting as Prince Regent.
A senior royal insider pointed out that the queen has been performing state duties since she was first disabled to walk in the autumn and that she will host a virtual privy council today.
Yesterday’s constitution ceremony was a particular exception because it had to be present at the Lords.
She decided Monday afternoon after speaking to her doctor to retire.
Instead, she issued a one-off decree giving Councilors of State Charles and William the power to deliver the speech on her behalf.
After excelling in their duties yesterday, the senior source said: “The Queen was very proud to see her son and grandson stepping in.”
She watched on TV from Windsor Castle as Charles calmly ascended the throne of the golden wife next to an empty seat where she would sit on the sovereign’s throne. The consort throne was formerly occupied by Prince Philip.
William sat in a chair of state to Charles’s right, the future Queen Consort Camilla to her husband’s left.
Charles, in his Admiral of the Fleet uniform, gazed at the imperial crown on its velvet cushion before announcing 38 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposed legislation.
Sources close to the Prince of Wales said he is “ready and willing” if the Queen’s troubles mean she is unable to attend.
A spokesman for Charles added: “The Prince of Wales is of course always ready to support Her Majesty.”
It was the first time in 59 years and only the third time in her 70-year reign that the Queen missed the state opening. The other two times she was pregnant.
Charles was the first heir to the throne to address the monarch since then – Prince Regent George IV stood in for George III in 1820.
He delivered the amended speech in the third person, replacing “my government” and “my ministers” with “Her Majesty’s government and ministers.”
Runner-up William, wearing a dressing gown, attended the state opening for the first time.
He smiled as he greeted dignitaries, then bit his lip as he walked through the crowded hall, hands clasped in front of him. Camilla wore a navy blue day dress and hat rather than a dress and tiara, and was holding a purse and a pair of gloves.
A pal of Charles’s said: “That’s his mum and so of course he always wants her to do these events like the State Opening of Parliament.
“But equally, supporting the Queen is his job, and he’s ready and willing and absolutely capable of it.
“He would rather level up than force her to do things that are difficult for her.”
Joe Little of Majesty magazine said of the Prince of Wales: “It must have been an enormously important moment for him. It was also quite telling how he stared at the Imperial State Crown for several seconds as it lay on the table beside him.
The Prince of Wales is of course always ready to support Her Majesty.
A spokesman for Prince Charles
“You kind of wondered what was going through his head.
“As people have said today, let’s look to the future. It was a duty he would rather not have had to perform, but that’s what he and William, as Councilors of State, were for. It’s a big moment in royal history.”
Despite her absence yesterday, the Queen is expected to attend Trooping the Color and be on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to start her anniversary on June 2nd.
She is expected to attend a service in her honor at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 3 and be at The Derby in Epsom, Surrey the next day.
Her Majesty will also have her weekly phone call with the Prime Minister later in the day.
But she has now missed at least 14 major engagements in seven months, including a trip to Northern Ireland, events on Remembrance Sunday and garden parties at Buckingham Palace.
The former press secretary for the Queen Dickie Arbiter said: “I wouldn’t write them off entirely just yet. It’s a gradual handover, but it’s not the end of the queen.
“I like to think she’ll be in Trooping the Color and she would certainly want to be in Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s.
“The State Opening of Parliament involves a lot of movement and stairs, which is a bit of a walk for a 96-year-old but fine for a 73-year-old like the Prince of Wales.
“Her brain is razor sharp, she just has a few mobility issues. Charles, William and Camilla are very capable and willing to step in.
“But is she capable of fulfilling the role of head of state? The answer is yes.”
dr Bob Morris, a constitutional expert at University College London, called the agreements unprecedented.
He said it was “highly likely” they would continue for future state openings, meaning the Queen might never perform that duty again.
https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/5309399/charles-william-camilla-queens-speech/ Charles, William and Camilla deliver the historic Queen’s Speech