Queen Elizabeth II announced on Monday evening that she would be replaced by her son Prince Charles for the traditional throne speech in the British Parliament on Tuesday, May 10, because of her mobility problems.
This is the first time in almost sixty years that the monarch has missed this solemn appointment of British democracy, where she reads the government’s program during a ceremony with great pomp. She had been absent in 1959 and in 1963, when she was pregnant.
It is also the first time that she has been replaced there by the Prince of Wales, heir to the crown, a sign of the gradual transfer of her tasks to her eldest son, who has already represented her abroad for several years. . The Queen’s throne will remain empty, with Prince Charles, 73, and his wife, Camilla, taking their usual seats.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Monday evening:
The Queen continues to have episodic mobility issues and, after consultation with her doctors, has reluctantly decided not to take part in the Speech from the Throne. At the request of Her Majesty and with the agreement of the competent authorities, the Prince of Wales will read the Speech from the Throne on her behalf, together with the Duke of Cambridge [le prince William, petit-fils de la reine, deuxième dans l’ordre de succession au trône] also present.
The queen had already given up in recent years to wear her heavy crown for this very codified ceremony which must start at 10:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. in France). His absence revives questions about his participation, in early June, in the celebrations of the platinum jubilee, marking his seventy years of reign.
Winning back disappointed voters
A few days after heavy setbacks in the local elections, where his party lost some 500 seats, the Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hopes by this speech to show that he is concerned about the fall in purchasing power and to forget the scandals .
Politically, Boris Johnson will need to convince an increasingly critical electorate. Triumphantly coming to power in July 2019, the conservative leader had already seen his popularity plummet in recent months, against a backdrop of the purchasing power crisis, criticism of his management of the pandemic and the “partygate” scandal which earned him a fine. , a first for a head of government in office.
If he managed to save his post, for the moment, in the context of the war in Ukraine, the bubbling 57-year-old leader will try to win back disappointed voters for the two years he has left before the next legislative elections. . His speech will present thirty-eight bills.
His services confirmed the announcement of a bill on education “so that no child is left behind”. Another, on public order, is intended to prevent “guerrilla techniques” groups like Extinction Rebellion, hated by its base, who demonstrated by blocking roads or public transport “harming hard-working people, costing taxpayers millions of public money and putting lives at risk”.
Faced with an economy hurt by years of pandemic and inflation expected to rise above 10% in the coming months, Boris Johnson has pledged to “putting the country back on track” and to “pursue urgently [leur] mission to create highly skilled, well-paid jobs that will drive economic growth across the UK”.
He also intends to announce laws intended to reduce red tape after the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (EU), which became fully effective on January 31, 2020.
This set of bills, which he called the “super seven”, will enable the UK to “to prosper as a modern, dynamic and independent country” in “changing old EU rules that don’t work for the UK”he explained to the newspaper Sunday Express.
To make it easier to deport foreign criminals, the government has also said in recent months that it wants to amend human rights legislation that incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into national law.