The uncertain presence of Elizabeth II at the throne speech

Will come or not come? The suspense weighs on the presence of Queen Elizabeth II during the traditional speech from the throne allowing the government to unveil its priorities before the British Parliament, the date of which was set for Thursday May 10.

This speech is a highlight of the parliamentary calendar. In a ceremony with great fanfare, the Queen opens the new session of Parliament by outlining the plans of the government, currently struggling with a crisis linked to the rising cost of living and the repercussions of the war in Ukraine.

An appointment missed twice

The sovereign, who will celebrate her 96th birthday in April, has considerably reduced her schedule in recent months after health concerns. Buckingham Palace merely indicated that its participation “will be confirmed at the appropriate time”. The queen could decide to delegate this task to her son Charles, the 73-year-old heir to the throne.

She only missed this appointment twice during her long reign: in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Andrew and then Edward. But his fragile health and the duration of the ceremony could encourage him to give up.

Difficulties in moving

Elizabeth II has been seen with a cane in recent months and said she has difficulty getting around. The palace had explained his absence at a ceremony in November by back pain.

In October, she was briefly hospitalized for tests that were never made public. She had also been infected with Covid-19 in February, showing mild symptoms.

Mass in honor of Prince Philip

Her participation in another highlight, a mass to be organized on Tuesday in tribute to her husband Prince Philip, who died in April 2021, is also uncertain. The palace said Thursday that members of the royal family will participate in this tribute to Westminster Abbey, without specifying which ones.

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The opening of the parliamentary session is held a few weeks before four days of celebrations, from June 2 to 5, to mark the 70 years of reign of Elizabeth II who acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952.

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