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Queen Elizabeth will skip the Braemar Gathering, a popular Highland Games event and a much-loved outing, due to ongoing mobility concerns.
Her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, who normally accompanies the monarch to the gathering, will attend. The decision was made for “the comfort” of the monarch, who has been struggling with issues getting around since last year.
The palace recently announced that Elizabeth will formally appoint Britain’s new prime minister on Tuesday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, not Buckingham Palace in London.
As head of state, Britain’s monarch appoints the new prime minister at Buckingham Palace. Every British leader has been appointed there since the reign of Queen Victoria, except on one occasion.
Elizabeth has spent much of the past two years at Windsor Castle, west of London, where she took refuge during the coronavirus pandemic. She kept busy during this period by carrying out meetings virtually with ambassadors, health workers and school children.
The queen typically vacations in Scotland during the summer.
In July, the queen’s duties were scaled back due to health concerns.
The annual report of the monarchy revealed that the queen’s role as head of state had been changed from 13 bulleted points to a less specific description, The Sunday Telegraph reported. In addition, those duties the queen “must fulfill” have been removed from the list.
The Sovereign Grant report, which was published following the Platinum Jubilee, places greater emphasis on the support of the royal family in carrying out official royal duties. The queen will be entrusting more to her heir, Prince Charles. The report, signed off by Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, noted that the queen’s role still comprises two key elements: Head of State and Head of Nation.
While Buckingham Palace didn’t comment on the report, a palace source told the outlet that it was not a “drastic” change, but rather “a small update.”
The move, which was made quietly, is the first change of its kind in more than a decade, People magazine noted.
After the Platinum Jubilee in June, which marked Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne, she issued a statement emphasizing that she would continue to serve with the support of her family.
“While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family,” Elizabeth said.
During the Platinum Jubilee, Elizabeth only made a few appearances. Palace officials said she experienced some “discomfort” during those events. But despite her health woes, the queen attended a series of events at Holyroodhouse, her official residence in Edinburgh, Scotland. A smiling Elizabeth, who used a cane, delighted royal watchers.
Elizabeth pledged to serve Britain and the Commonwealth for her whole life. The queen shows every intention of fulfilling that promise. Still, her problems in getting around have forced her to be more selective in her public engagements. That has opened a door for Charles, who has been ready to step in whenever required.
“Prince Charles is the longest-serving heir we’ve ever had,” Robert Hardman, author of “Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II,” said. “He’s there. He’s on standby to do whatever needs doing if the queen can’t be there. But, you know, she made an oath that she was going to reign for her life. And that’s how she views it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.