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Queen to miss royal garden parties

The Queen will not take part in the royal garden party season this year (PA)
The Queen will not take part in the royal garden party season this year (PA)

The Queen will miss the royal garden party season and be represented by other members of her family, Buckingham Palace has said.

The head of state, who has mobility issues, 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.”

Royal Garden Party
The Queen during a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in 2019 (Jane Barlow/PA)

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.

Last October, the Queen spent a night in hospital and spent the following three months under doctors’ orders to only conduct light duties and missed a number of prominent events.

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.

Buckingham Palace garden party
The Prince of Wales during a garden party at Buckingham Palace, Victoria Jones/PA

It is understood the key factor in other members of the royal family being asked to represent the Queen was the length of time royal hosts spend standing during garden parties which last well over an hour.

The events will be staged at Buckingham Palace on May 11, 18 and 25, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh will be the venue for a party on June 29.

The Queen has given permission for the annual garden party for forces charity The Not Forgotten Association, which supports disabled veterans and serving wounded, to take place at her official London home on May 12, hosted by the organisation’s patron the Princess Royal.

There will be speculation about whether the Queen will attend the State Opening of Parliament next Tuesday which could see her represented by the Prince of Wales.

Charles is the likely candidate to read the Queen’s speech which sets out the Government’s policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.

Queen’s speech 2021
The Queen delivers a speech from the throne in House of Lords during the 2021 State Opening of Parliament (Chris Jackson/PA)

A Buckingham Palace spokesman has confirmed the monarch plans to deliver her address at the national event, but her attendance will be confirmed on the day.

Since 2016 the monarch has used the lift at Sovereign’s Entrance rather than the stairs when arriving and leaving the Palace of Westminster.

The Queen has opened Parliament all but two times during her reign.

The exceptions were in 1959, the year she was pregnant with the Duke of York, and 1963, when she was pregnant with the Earl of Wessex.

The ceremony was not held in 2020 and last year a reduced capacity Covid secure State Opening of Parliament was staged with the Queen present.