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Queen to remain in Balmoral for audiences with Boris Johnson and new PM

© Victoria Jones/PA WireThe Queen invites Boris Johnson to form a government as new PM in 2019
The Queen invites Boris Johnson to form a government as new PM in 2019

The Queen will remain at Balmoral to appoint the next prime minister, it has been confirmed.

The 96-year-old, who has faced ongoing mobility issues, traditionally holds audiences with outgoing and incoming premiers at Buckingham Palace.

But Boris Johnson and either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will instead travel north of the border next week to meet the monarch on her traditional summer break in Aberdeenshire.

Buckingham Palace said the decision to relocate the event had been made in advance so the next prime minister did not have to make last-minute arrangements.

The appointment of a new prime minister involves the incumbent leader informing the Palace of their resignation. Johnson will have an audience with the Queen at Balmoral on September 6.

The winner of the Conservative leadership contest will have been announced the day before. Truss or Sunak will arrive in Balmoral next Tuesday and be formally asked by the Queen to form a government in an audience known as ‘kissing hands’.

They’ll be the 15th prime minister to have been appointed by her, the first being Winston Churchill.

They’ll then head back to 10 Downing Street, where they’re likely to make a speech in front of the famous black door before starting the job of leading the country.

It is understood the decision to hold the event at Balmoral was taken at this stage in order to provide certainty for the prime minister’s diary.

If the Queen had experienced an episodic mobility issue next week and the plan had been to travel to London or Windsor, it would have led to alternative arrangements at the last minute.

The Sun reported at the weekend that the Prince of Wales has been making regular morning visits to see his mother as she continues to struggle with her mobility, with the unplanned visits considered highly unusual.

Buckingham Palace declined to give an ongoing commentary on the monarch’s health.

During her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the Queen only travelled to Buckingham Palace twice, first for her Trooping the Colour balcony appearance and then for a finale after the pageant.

She spends most of her time at Windsor Castle, 22 miles from central London, living there during the pandemic and while major renovations take place at Buckingham Palace, and for her comfort.

As head of state, it is the Queen’s duty to appoint the prime minister who leads Her Majesty’s Government.

The Royal Encyclopedia states that the appointment of a prime minister is “one of the few remaining personal prerogatives of the sovereign”.

The monarch does not act on advice nor need to consult anyone before calling upon the leader with an overall majority of seats in the House of Commons to form a government.


Additional reporting by Laura Elston, Press Association