Her Majesty, who has been battling mobility problems for several months, has reluctantly made the decision not to attend for only the third time in her 70-year reign.
Buckingham Palace had been set to wait until Tuesday morning to make a final decision, with aides having prepared contingency plans that included a ‘discreet wheelchair route’, but it is understood she will not attend due to difficulties walking.
Instead, Prince Charles is set to stand in following discussions between the Queen and her aides. He will be supported by his wife Camilla and Prince William.
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: ‘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.
‘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.’
The Queen pictured as she gave the 2021 Queen’s Speech in the House of Lords in May last year
The Queen pictured on the way to her first State Opening of Parliament as monarch in November 1952
The Queen escorted by her son Prince Charles during the State Opening of Parliament at the House of Lords last year. Charles will stand in for his mother tomorrow
The Queen is escorted by Prince Charles following the monarch’s speech to the House of Lords last year
The Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during the State Opening of Parliament on October 14, 2019
The Queen pictured on the throne during the State Opening of Parliament in 1966. Tomorrow will be only the third time she has missed the event
Prince Charles will step in for the Queen, supported by his wife Camilla (pictured together at the State Opening last year)
The Queen standing ahead of her speech in the House of Lords as part of the State Opening of Parliament in 2021
The Queen and Prince Charles, with his wife Camilla sat to his left, pictured during the opening of Parliament in 2019
The Queen’s Speech – what to expect
What is the Queen’s Speech?
The speech is written by ministers and details the Government’s plans for new laws.
It is due to be read in the House of Lords as part of the ceremonial opening of Parliament.
What will be in the Speech?
The Government is expected to use the speech to bring forward changes to Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab refused on Sunday to say whether new measures would be included.
‘What we’re going to be focusing on this week is what our plans are to drive up the economy, protect the cost of living’, Mr Raab told Sky News.
Reports of proposed changes come as the Government grapples with the implications of Sinn Fein’s success in the Stormont Assembly elections.
The Prime Minister has also said he has plans for a ‘super seven’ set of Bills aimed at changing laws the UK inherited from the EU.
According to the Sunday Express, a new Brexit Freedoms Bill will aim to cut EU regulatory ‘red tape’ which remains in UK law after leaving the trading bloc.
A coming Procurement Bill is reportedly aimed at giving small and medium sized businesses a better opportunity to compete for Government contracts, and there are also plans to boost animal welfare and crack down on puppy smuggling.
However, the Times has reported that plans to ban imports of foie gras and fur clothing to the UK have been scrapped from the speech, in an attempt by Boris Johnson to shore up support from the Conservative right wing.
Bill of Rights
Mr Raab has indicated the Government wants to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.
The Justice Secretary told LBC that a new Bill of Rights would result in ‘less shifting of the goalposts, less elastic interpretations of human rights’, adding that people find the current law ‘frustrating in the context of deporting foreign national offenders’.
Ministers will crack down on truancy, beef up the powers of education watchdogs and reform the funding system in new legislation to create ‘a school system that works for every child’.
Under plans in the Schools Bill, England’s schools would be required to publish an attendance policy and there will be compulsory registers for children who are not in classrooms so the authorities can identify who is not receiving a full-time education.
A Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is expected to give local leaders new powers to rejuvenate high streets, by forcing landlords to rent out empty shop units.
Communities Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘By empowering local communities to rent out shops which have been sat empty for a year or longer, we will end the scourge of boarded up shops that have blighted some of our great towns across the country for far too long.’
Privatisation of Channel 4
Plans to privatise Channel 4, announced in April, are part of a wider series of reforms proposed for the UK’s broadcasting landscape.
The Government has also carried over legislation it did not finish in the previous session of Parliament.
This includes the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill aimed at preventing curbs on free speech in universities, the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, and the Online Safety Bill, a long-awaited piece of legislation aimed at preventing cyberflashing and online stalking, among other online harms.
A No 10 spokesman added: ‘The Prime Minister fully respects the wishes of Her Majesty and is grateful to the Prince of Wales for agreeing to deliver the speech on her behalf.’
A new Letters Patent authorised by the Queen was issued to cover the State Opening delegating to Counsellors of State the royal function of opening a new session of Parliament.
In this instance, it enables Charles and William to jointly exercise that function. No other functions have been delegated by the Queen.
The Queen’s throne will remain empty in the House of Lords, and the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will sit in their usual seats.
William will sit on the opposite side to Camilla, while the Imperial State Crown will also still travel to Parliament.
There will also be a slimmed down – but still spectacular – military ceremony with fewer troops but the same standards of pomp and military splendour involving eight different units, including The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.
It is the first time Her Majesty has missed the opening of Parliament for 59 years.
And she has only missed the event twice in her entire reign – in 1959 and 1963 when pregnant.
On those occasions her speech, setting out the government’s legislative plans for the coming year, was read by the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Kilmuir.
MailOnline understands the Queen had been intending to appear – but Parliamentary officials were braced for a late withdrawal this evening.
She is understood to have a busy diary at Windsor this week with a call with Australia undertaken on Monday, and a planned virtual Privy Council and phone audience with the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
The monarch is also expected to undertake some private engagements later in the week.
Contingency plans had been in place for her appearance, including a ‘discreet wheelchair route’ through Parliament away from the cameras while Charles did the normal procession, but those proposals have now been scrapped.
The monarch would have entered the Palace of Westminster via the Sovereign’s Entrance in the Victoria Tower, where she could use a lift to avoid the 26 steps of the royal staircase.
Palace officials could then have chosen to keep the Royal Gallery empty to allow her to walk the fewest steps possible into the House of Lords, away from public view.
It comes days after an announcement that she will not attend any of the summer’s Buckingham Palace garden parties.
The State Opening of Parliament is one of the monarch’s most significant public duties, and involves the reading of the Queen’s Speech outlining the government’s policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
The ceremony was not held in 2020 and last year a reduced capacity Covid-secure state opening of Parliament was staged on May 11 with the Queen present.
There had been speculation about whether the Queen would attend, especially after it was announced she would not be attending the garden party season and instead would be represented by members of her family.
The head of state has missed a number of major events this year but has been carrying out virtual engagements and her other duties.
Garden parties will be staged from next week for the first time in three years and are important events in the royal calendar as those who have served their country or communities are invited to the monarch’s home.
Buckingham Palace said: ‘Her Majesty The Queen will be represented by other members of the royal family at this year’s garden parties, with details on attendance to be confirmed in due course.’
The Queen attended a service commemorating the life of the Duke of Edinburgh in March with senior royals and a congregation of hundreds.
She reached her Platinum Jubilee in February, overcame a bout of Covid after testing positive that month, and celebrated her 96th birthday privately on April 21 at her Sandringham estate.
In October, she spent a night in hospital, followed by three months under doctors’ orders to only conduct light duties.
Queen Elizabeth II with Duke of Edinburgh after the State Opening of Parliament on November 17, 1999
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, second left, walk through the Central Lobby on the way to the House of Lords in May last year
A spokesperson for No 10 said the Prime Minister ‘fully respects the wishes of Her Majesty’
Queen Elizabeth pictured during the Queen’s Speech to the House of Lords in June 2017
The Queen delivering her speech from the throne in the House of Lords during the State Opening in June 2014
The Queen pictured leaving the Houses of Parliament following her traditional annual speech in November 2009
The Queen and husband Prince Philip sitting in the House of Lords during the 1997 State Opening of Parliament
Lord Chancellor Viscount Kilmuir, who read the Queen’s Speech when Her Majesty was missing due to being pregnant
The Queen has been using a walking stick in public since she attended a service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion last October.
Boris Johnson will tomorrow bid to reset his premiership this week with plans to tear up old EU laws, Level Up the Red Wall and give locals more power over housing developments.
The measures are expected to form part of the new legislative agenda being set out at the State Opening of Parliament.
Amid great pomp and ceremony,around 30 Bills will be outlined – including a coordinated ‘super seven’ designed to highlight the benefits of Brexit, from slashing red tape to bolstering protection for animals.
There will also be Levelling Up, planning, council tax and schools reforms that ministers hope will shore up Mr Johnson’s increasingly fragile ‘big tent’ of support in traditional southern heartlands and post-industrial areas in the North and Midlands.
Although Labour failed to make major inroads at the local elections, Tories have been particularly alarmed by the Lib Dems’ success across ‘Blue Wall’ strongholds.
As part of the package, local residents are expected to be given the right to be consulted on ‘design codes’ spelling out the standards that housing developments must meet.
Ministers will look at how the planning inspectorate handles targets on local housing requirements, with greenbelt and areas of natural beauty no longer forced to meet ‘unrealistic’ goals as long as they produce a plausible plan.
A fast-track application category could also be added to the planning system for small builders in an effort to ‘level the playing field’ with big developers.