Prince Charles Delivers Speech to Open Parliament, Sits on Consort’s Throne Amid Queen Elizabeth II’s Absence

Prince Charles Delivers Speech From Throne Amid Queen's Parliament Absence
Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II. Arthur Edwards/WPA Pool/Shutterstock; Alan Davidson/Shutterstock

Stepping up! Prince Charles filled in for his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on the opening day of British Parliament — and got a taste of his future on the throne.

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The Prince of Wales, 73, delivered the traditional opening remarks alongside his son Prince William and wife Duchess Camilla on Tuesday, May 10, at the House of Parliament in London. Charles gave his speech from the Consort’s Throne after the Sovereign’s Throne — which is used by the 96-year-old — was removed amid the queen’s absence.

While addressing members of the government, Charles spoke for 11 minutes and outlined the administration’s plans for the coming years. Some tweaks were made to the speech, with the future king opting to use the phrase “Her Majesty’s government.” (The monarch typically says “my government” while delivering the remarks.)

As he concluded the opening ceremony, the queen’s eldest son reassured those in attendance that Elizabeth was looking forward to her upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations this summer. “Her Majesty prays that the blessings of Almighty God will rest upon your counsels,” Charles said.

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Tuesday marked only the third time in her 70-year reign that Her Royal Highness missed the opening of Parliament, with Buckingham Palace confirming her absence one day before the royal engagement.

“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,” a statement read on Monday, May 9. “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.”

Elizabeth has been spotted using a cane in public multiple times over the past several months, and she was hospitalized overnight in October 2021 on the recommendation of her doctors. “Her Majesty can continue to undertake light, desk-based duties during this time, including some virtual audiences, but not to undertake any official visits,” a palace statement noted later that month after the queen was advised to rest for “at least” two weeks.

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Concern for the royal matriarch’s health continued in February when she tested positive for the coronavirus. At the time, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that the queen “showed extraordinary courage” throughout her COVID-19 battle.

A second insider revealed that same month that Charles and William, 39, would “be taking on extra duties over the next decade” as they prepare for their respective reigns as king. “[Charles] will ensure that his son is up to speed the ins and outs of the royal family on a deeper level and William will help Charles come up with new, fresh ideas about modernizing the monarchy,” the source told Us, noting that the men would be “working very closely” to create “a slimmed down monarchy.”

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