Queen Elizabeth to miss Commonwealth Games

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Queen Elizabeth won't be attending this year's Commonwealth Games credit:Bang Showbiz
Queen Elizabeth won't be attending this year's Commonwealth Games credit:Bang Showbiz

Queen Elizabeth is to miss the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham.

The Palace has confirmed the 96-year-old British monarch - who has been the Head of the Commonwealth since 1952 - won't be in attendance at the launch of the multi-sport games on July 28.

Instead, the first in line to the throne, Prince Charles, will step in for his mother and be joined by his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, when delivers a speech.

The 73-year-old royal will also read a message from Her Royal Highness, which is carried in the Commonwealth Games Baton, and has been to all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.

Last month, the Prince of Wales hailed the sporting spectacle a show of "unity" in these uncertain times.

He said: "In a world currently riven by conflict and division, these Games - so aptly called 'the friendly games' - stand as a shining celebration of our unity, our diversity and our pursuit of shared excellence."

Other members of the royal family will be attending the games, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Queen Elizabeth has skipped several events in recent times as she has suffered mobility issues and often uses a walking aide.

Just recently, the queen's job description was rewritten.

A new version of the monarch's "official duties" was drafted following her Platinum Jubilee, reducing the list of obligations she "must fulfil" and placing greater emphasis on the support of the wider royal family.

According to the Sovereign Grant report - which is signed by Keeper of the Privy Purse Sir Michael Stevens - the queen's role still includes two key elements, Head of State and Head of Nation.

The "formal constitutional concept" of Head of State previously had a 13-point list of duties the queen "must" undertake, including the State Opening of Parliament, paying and receiving state visits, and the appointment of the Prime Minister.

However, the new version offers a more loose definition, simply noting the queen's role “encompasses a range of parliamentary and diplomatic duties” and noting only that she "receives" other visiting heads of state.

The symbolic role of Head of Nation is carried out "where appropriate or necessary" and focuses on her inspiring “unity and national identity” and “continuity and stability”, recognising the “achievement and success” of others and ensuring “support of service” from volunteers to the emergency services and the military.

The changes come amid the ongoing mobility problems Elizabeth II - who quit overseas visits in 2015 - has been experiencing in recent months.

What's more, the queen's programme of engagements has been swapped for more general "visits in royal programmes".

The documents also note: "The Queen is greatly assisted by other members of the Royal family who undertake official duties on behalf of Her Majesty."

A palace source emphasised on that it was not a “drastic” change, but a small update.

Earlier this year, Charles and his son Prince William attended the State Opening of Parliament on her behalf, with the Prince of Wales frequently undertaking overseas engagements on her behalf.

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