Queen sees her role ‘reduced’ as Palace aides downplay significance of changes

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The Queen has had the number of duties she must fulfil reduced during Buckingham Palace's annual review.

Royal Family insiders have played down the significance of the lighter workload for the 96-year-old monarch, with her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles set to stand in for her during some of the more demanding responsibilities.

The State Opening of Parliament, meanwhile, has been completely removed from the royal schedule and she will no longer carry out State Visits.

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It is believed the Queen's duties have not been amended for at least a decade but a palace source argued it was not a "drastic change".

As Head of State, the Queen's constitutional duties, written out in a 13-point list, included the State Opening of Parliament, the appointment of Prime Minister and paying and receiving State Visits.

These responsibilities have now been diminished with the Queen's role more vaguely said to encompass "a range of parliamentary and diplomatic duties".

She will also only receive other visiting heads of state.

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The Queen will only fulfil her Head of Nation duties, meanwhile, "where appropriate or necessary".

Again, her role in that respect is now a more generalised one of inspiring "unity and national identity" and "continuity and stability", while recognising the "achievement and success" of others and ensuring "support of service" from volunteers to the military and emergency services.

Of the six key events in the royal calendar previously listed, the State Opening has been removed, having been jointly attended by the 73-year-old Prince of Wales and his son Prince William, amid the Queen's much-publicised mobility issues.

Four of the other five have also been led by Charles this year.

The annual Sovereign Grant report, which is signed off by Keeper of the Privy Purse Sir Michael Stevens, also switches the Queen's programme of engagement for a more broad "visits in royal programmes" and puts more emphasis on the wider family.

“The Queen is greatly assisted by other members of the Royal family who undertake official duties on behalf of Her Majesty," it states.


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  • Queen
  • Royal Family
  • Prince Charles

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