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LONDON (AP) – Queen Elizabeth II’s long reign entered new territory on Tuesday when, for the first time in seven decades, she delegated the official opening of parliament to her son and heir, Prince Charles.

The ceremony, which includes a reading of the Queen’s speech outlining the government’s legislative program, is considered an important symbol of the monarch’s constitutional role as head of state.

The Queen’s decision to hand over her role to Charles is likely to be seen by the public as proof of the transition that occurs when the 96-year-old monarch remains on the throne but transfers more responsibilities to Charles.

“The heir is teetering on the brink of becoming a de facto prince-regent. William will watch what awaits him, ”said Peter Hunt, a former royal BBC reporter. “As the queen gradually withdraws from public life, the palace seeks to show that the monarchy is safe in the hands of father and son.”

WHAT IS A QUEEN?

The speech outlines the legislative program of the government and is delivered during the official opening of each session of parliament. Since each parliamentary session lasts about a year, it is about an annual event.

The speech was written by the elected government, which is currently headed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It is presented during the state opening of the parliament. The monarch traditionally arrives in a horse-drawn carriage, sits on a sovereign throne in the House of Lords and wears the Imperial Crown of the state

But 73-year-old Charles sat not on the sovereign throne that had been removed, but on the throne of the spouse enjoyed by his father, Prince Philip. At the place where the queen’s throne is usually located, the Imperial State Crown was placed on a velvet pillow.

Charles delivered a third-person speech using “Her Majesty’s Government”.

WHY DID ELIZABETH DECIDE TO MISS GAMMA?

Buckingham Palace did not specify what he called “episodic mobility problems”, but in recent months the Queen has had difficulty moving. In some cases she was seen using a cane, and last month Prince Andrew accompanied her to Westminster Abbey for a memorial service for her late husband, Prince Philip.

However, the speech involves more than just reading notes. It takes a long time to walk to the House of Lords, the stairs to her throne – and in the past – carriages. All of these obstacles can become a challenge for the sovereign.

Elizabeth, who has only recently recovered from a COVID-19 attack, is also preparing for the four days of her platinum anniversary celebrations, which are scheduled for June 2-5.

DID THE QUEEN MISS A SPIRIT?

Yes. In 1959, when she was late in pregnancy with Prince Andrew, and again in 1963 before the birth of Prince Edward.

In both cases the parliament was opened by the royal commission with a speech by the chairman.

SO WHAT’S DIFFERENT THIS TIME?

This year, the Queen has officially asked Prince Charles to deliver a speech in accordance with the rules that allow her to delegate some of her responsibilities to senior members of the royal family, who are considered “state advisers”. Counselors must act in pairs, so Charles will be accompanied by his eldest son, Prince William.

Since responsibilities have been delegated to Charles, there will be fewer violations of the ceremonial aspects of the day.

The public should be able to take comfort in the continuity of the monarchy, says Robert Hazel, professor of government and constitution at University College London.

“Yes, we are, in fact, preparing for the transition,” he told the Associated Press. “The Queen is about the 90s. She will not live forever. We are approaching the last years of her reign, and in these last years, when she is no longer able to speak in public, Prince Charles can intercede on her behalf. ”

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