For only the third time in her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II has missed the state opening of Parliament, the annual ceremony in which she lays out her government’s plans for the U.K.
Instead, her heir, Prince Charles read the speech that listed the 38 bills that the government plans on passing this year, The Associated Press reported.
This is the first time he has sat in for his mother in the ceremony, CNN reported.
The previous times Elizabeth missed the opening of Parliament were in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
She has recently missed several public engagements after being hospitalized in October for an undisclosed health condition. She also was diagnosed with COVID-19 in February.
The queen missed Tuesday’s ceremony due to “episodic mobility problems,” BBC News reported.
Both Prince Charles and Prince Williams had been given the authority to open Parliament on her behalf.
Prince Charles appeared in full ceremonial uniform, sitting on a throne with the Imperial State Crown placed on a table next to him. He introduced the government initiatives each time saying “Her Majesty’s government will ...” CNN reported.
The prince said Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration will “grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families,” but he did not go into detail about how it will be done as the prices for domestic energy and food continue to rise.
The government says it will also invest in railways and infrastructure; “level up” the opportunities in poorer regions; and will focus on education and health care funding, the AP reported.
Not all of the initiatives listed in the government-written speech were warmly accepted by people living in the U.K.
Human rights groups have already spoken out against the British Bill of Rights that will replace laws that are based on the European Convention on Human Rights. There are also concerns about a bill that would allow “precision bred plants and animals,” and could allow genetically modified food to be produced, which is now banned, the AP reported.
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