Queen Elizabeth’s absence for throne speech marks ‘a kind of regency of the realm’, says royal biographer

Queen Elizabeth's absence for throne speech marks 'a kind of regency of the realm', says royal biographer

Queen Elizabeth II will be absent on Tuesday May 10 for the speech from the throne in Parliament, a solemn meeting of British democracy, and will be replaced by Prince Charles. It will be “a kind of regency of the kingdom”explained Monday, May 9 on franceinfo Marc Roche, royal biographer and correspondent of the Point in London. “Prince Charles will more and more exercise the sovereign functions of his mother”, emphasizes Marc Roche. But the queen will not abdicate and “remain leader of theEtat, and will remain so until his death”.

franceinfo: How should we interpret this very noticeable absence of Queen Elizabeth II at the opening, Tuesday, of the session of the British Parliament?

Mark Roche: Obviously, the queen’s mobility problems have worsened, which does not bode well for the celebrations of the jubilee, the 70 years of reign, at the beginning of June. It is the most important event of the parliamentary session. The Queen reads the policy speech which is written by her Prime Minister. But above all, it is a great royal procession. And obviously, she is no longer able to do it. Not to mention the arrival by coach and the port of the Crown. So that very clearly means the presence of Prince Charles. And de facto, we are in a kind of regency of the kingdom, although the term is banned at Buckingham Palace.

Is this a new step, symbolic perhaps, in the gradual transfer of tasks to Prince Charles. Could he, more quickly than expected, take his place on the throne?

Queen Elizabeth II will never abdicate, unlike the monarchies of the continent, because she is a woman of faith, who made, during her coronation, a religious oath to serve her people until her death. That said, she is very aware that she can no longer exercise the functions of representation and that she must delegate, not only to Prince Charles, but also to Prince William, second in the order of succession. The word regency is totally banned because it is only provided for in case of mental illness and mental incapacity of the sovereign. This happened only once, between 1811 and 1820, when George III, who had gone mad, was replaced by the regent, the future George IV, who was still not king. The system is very clear. More and more Prince Charles will exercise the regal functions of his mother, but she remains head of theEtat and she will remain so until her death.

Would she have the right to abdicate?

She has the absolute right to abdicate. But she was not to become queen since she was only the daughter of the second son of George V. The abdication of her uncle Edward VIII, in 1936, precipitated her destiny since she became crown princess and then queen in 1952. She remained traumatized by this abdication which, in her eyes, cost the life of her father, who was not prepared to reign and who died of cancer at a very young age. She ascended the throne under difficult conditions, untrained for the job and had to learn on the job. She is determined not to repeat the exercise. And Prince Charles will have to wait, which he has done all his life.

How, in the United Kingdom, do we comment on this absence of the queen on Tuesday, which will inevitably be very noticed?

It does not go unnoticed especially since, lately, there have been many health alerts and many cancellations of events which, traditionally, the queen attends. And all the questions in London are about the Jubilee. It’s been four days. The queen should, given her state of health, move around in a wheelchair. She refuses it because she considers it unworthy of her office. And so, the biggest question is, will we see the queen?