At the end of last week, it was announced that Her Majesty, 95, would not take part in the Maundy Service taking place this weekend. Instead, for the first time, Prince Charles will carry out the traditional coin-giving ceremony, to be held this year in Windsor.
It is understood the Queen regrets not attending, but wanted to give clarity in time for those planning the event.
It will be the first Maundy Service missed by the Queen since 1970.
Rather than allowing speculation about her attendance to overshadow preparations for the Maundy service, it is understood the Queen has decided to give an early confirmation that Prince Charles will represent her instead.
It has been claimed that now Britain is effectively a “co-monarchy” with Prince Charles acting as the Queen’s regent.
According to the Ephraim Hardcastle column in the Daily Mail, the Queen has made Charles her regent “in all but name”.
The move also effectively relieves Prince Andrew and Prince Harry from having to take on certain official duties in their roles as Counsellors of State.
The column quotes a royal source, who said: “We have effectively a co-monarchy for the first time since William and Mary arrived in 1689.
“Charles’s unofficial elevation also removes any danger of Andrew or Harry having to step in as Counsellors of State.”
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The royal website details what the position actually entails writing: “in the event that The Queen cannot undertake her official duties as Sovereign on a temporary basis due to illness or absence abroad, two or more Counsellors of State are appointed by Letters Patent to act in Her Majesty’s place.”
According to the law, the individuals who make up the Counsellors of State are the monarch’s spouse and the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21.
At this present time, the positions are held by Prince Andrew, Prince Charles and his sons William and Harry.
The monarch has been taking part in virtual audiences but has experienced difficulties with her mobility.
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Over the past few months, the monarch has pulled out of a number of public engagements due to ill-health or mobility issues.
Last month she had to pull out of the Commonwealth Service on March 14.
The decision for her to pull out of the event was not believed to be related to any illness or ailment.
Instead, it was said to be a decision made regarding the monarch’s comfort when travelling from her Windsor Castle home to the service in London and back.
Despite this, she made sure to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s service of thanksgiving at the end of March.
The occasion marked the first large scale event she had attended outside of palace walls since October when she was admitted to hospital for undisclosed tests.
The monarch also recently revealed she was left “very tired and exhausted” after her bout of Covid as she discussed her experience with a former patient whose brother and father died from the virus.
She tested positive for the virus in February, but carried on with light desk-based duties, despite suffering from what Buckingham Palace described as “mild cold-like symptoms”.