Prince Charles has delivered the Queen's Speech after the monarch pulled out on the advice of her doctors.
The 96-year-old reluctantly pulled out of the major ceremonial occasion – nearly 60 years after she last missed it – as she continues to experience 'episodic mobility problems'.
The Prince of Wales, 73, took on the head of state's major constitutional duty for the first time, and the move was interpreted as a symbolic and significant shift in his responsibilities as a future monarch.
It was William's first state opening – and the royal function of opening a new parliament was delegated to both Charles and William by the Queen.
The ceremony is steeped in history and tradition and has remained largely unchanged for centuries.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 10, 2022
This year for the first time The Prince of Wales will read The Queen’s speech. It is drafted by the Government, outlining policies and proposed future legislation. #QueensSpeech pic.twitter.com/IspnbfJcJy
In the speech, the Prince of Wales said the Government's priority is to 'grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families'.
"My Government will level up opportunity in all parts of the country and support more people into work," he said.
He added that in these 'challenging times', the Government would continue to support the people of Ukraine.
Charles told Parliament: "Her Majesty's Government will drive economic growth to improve living standards and fund sustainable investment in public services.
"This will be underpinned by a responsible approach to the public finances, reducing debt while reforming and cutting taxes.
"Her Majesty's ministers will support the Bank of England to return inflation to its target."
The Queen's decision to step aside was taken yesterday (Monday 9 May), and her mobility issues are said to be a continuation of the problems she has suffered since the autumn.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "The Queen continues to experience episodic mobility problems, and in consultation with her doctors has reluctantly decided that she will not attend the State Opening of Parliament tomorrow.
"At Her Majesty's request, and with the agreement of the relevant authorities, The Prince of Wales will read The Queen's Speech on Her Majesty's behalf, with The Duke of Cambridge also in attendance."
He also said the Government 'will continue to seize the opportunities of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, to support economic growth', and take action to prevent 'dangerous and illegal Channel crossings'.
The Queen last missed a state opening of parliament in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and then Prince Edward, when her speech was read by the Lord Chancellor.
The Queen's Speech is written by the Government and sets out its agenda for Parliament's new session.
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Topics: UK News