Elizabeth II is replaced by Prince Charles in the highly symbolic “throne speech” on Tuesday, in what is already seen as the gradual transition of an aging but determined queen not to abdicate in favor of her heir.
The 96-year-old monarch usually opens each new parliamentary session by reading the legislative program drawn up by the government for the coming year.
However, due to his “episodic mobility problems and, after consultation with his doctors, he has reluctantly decided not to attend the speech from the throne” this year, the royal house explained late on Monday.
She will be replaced by Carlos, 73, who increasingly replaces his mother, whose schedule has been very restricted lately for health reasons.
The ceremony, which brings together the Commons and Lords – the lower and upper houses of the British Parliament – and will take place with the usual pomp and pageantry.
However, Carlos will not wear the traditional ermine cape, wear the heavy crown or sit on the throne. He will also be accompanied by his eldest son, Guillermo, 39 years old and number two in the line of succession.
Despite everything, this event is considered a key step in the progressive transfer of power from his elderly mother who, during her 70-year reign, has only missed this appointment twice: in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with the Princes Andrew and Edward respectively.
The health of the monarch has been a cause for concern since doctors ordered her to rest in October and she was hospitalized one night to undergo “tests” whose nature was never specified.
Since then she has canceled her participation in prominent events and has been seen with a cane and difficulties to move in her few public appearances.
The British press affirms that he uses a wheelchair in private. But in her last public appearance, on March 29 at Westminster Abbey in London, during a mass in honor of her late husband, she preferred to enter on foot through a side door to walk less, leaning on the arm of her son Andrés.
During a historic radio address on her 21st birthday, during a trip to South Africa with her family, on April 21, 1947, then-Princess Elizabeth vowed to dedicate her life to serving her people and is seen by all as determined not to abdicate despite her growing ailments.
Johnson Legislative Agenda
This speech is one of the strong moments on the British parliamentary agenda and especially this year, in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has seen his permanence in power threatened for months due to the outrage caused in the conservative ranks by the so-called “partygate” , the scandal of illegal parties organized in Downing Street during the 2020 and 2021 covid-19 lockdowns.
The controversial leader was fined for participating in one of the parties, but the police investigation is still open and he could be fined again.
Added to this is the severe electoral setback suffered last week by the Conservatives, who lost a dozen city councils and almost 500 councilors in local elections, including important London strongholds such as Westminster.
Voters expressed concern about soaring prices, with inflation set to exceed 10% in the UK by the end of the year, and the resulting cost of living crisis.
More than 7 million adults and 2.6 million children, in a country of 66 million people, lived in April in a household that does not eat enough, according to a study published Monday by the Food Foundation, an increase in 57% since January.
In this context, Johnson will seek to demonstrate with this legislative program that he is concerned about the collapse of purchasing power, aggravated by the war in Ukraine and the skyrocketing of energy prices.
All in an attempt to win back disappointed Britons, for the next two years, until the 2024 legislative elections, in which he hopes to be re-elected.