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Prince Charles is lined up to deliver the Queen‘s Speech at the state opening of parliament amid concerns she may not feel fit enough to attend.

Contingency plans are being prepared by palace and government officials to accommodate her absence should health or mobility issues prevent her from reading her speech on May 10.

It comes as the Queen, 95, has pulled out of a number of key occasions in the last six months due to concerns surrounding her health, most recently delegating to Charles for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey last week.

The consistent uncertainty has meant that her presence at all future events will be confirmed on the day with a member of the royal family on standby in the event she feels unable to attend. 

A royal source told the Sunday Times: ‘The date is in Her Majesty’s diary, and she hopes to attend. The Queen remains fit and active, and it is amazing how much she still does.

‘But her diary is being paced to reflect the realities of a woman of her age, and to ensure that she is able to continue to do as much as she can and would like to do.

Contingency plans are in place for Prince Charles to deliver the Queen's Speech at this year's state opening of parliament in May in case she is unable to attend. Pictured: The Queen sits on the Sovereign's Throne in the House of Lords at last year's state opening ceremony

Contingency plans are in place for Prince Charles to deliver the Queen's Speech at this year's state opening of parliament in May in case she is unable to attend. Pictured: The Queen sits on the Sovereign's Throne in the House of Lords at last year's state opening ceremony

Contingency plans are in place for Prince Charles to deliver the Queen’s Speech at this year’s state opening of parliament in May in case she is unable to attend. Pictured: The Queen sits on the Sovereign’s Throne in the House of Lords at last year’s state opening ceremony

‘All events will now be scheduled so that if Her Majesty is unable to attend at short notice, another member of the royal family will still be present.’

The Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey would have been the 95-year-old’s first in-person public engagement since being advised to rest by her doctors following a hospital stay in October and testing positive for Covid-19 on February 20 with ‘mild symptoms’.

Most notably, she did not attend last November’s Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Cenotaph after suffering a sprained back and being advised to rest. 

She has spent recent weeks carrying out only light duties including a handful of virtual audiences.

But she returned to in-person engagements earlier this month, meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle and later meeting the head of Britain’s armed forces.

She now regularly uses a stick and recently commented about her mobility issues, telling two senior military officers during a Windsor Castle reception ‘Well, as you can see, I can’t move,’ when asked how she was.

Prince Charles visits the Rock of Cashel, Ireland, March 25

Prince Charles visits the Rock of Cashel, Ireland, March 25

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose in front of the cathedral during a visit at the Rock of Cashel on March 25

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose in front of the cathedral during a visit at the Rock of Cashel on March 25

Prince Charles (pictured with Camilla, right, during a trip to Ireland on Friday) is on standby to deliver the Queen’s Speech at the state opening of parliament on May 10 if his mother is unable

Earlier this week, the Queen – who has moved to permanent residence at Windsor Castle – appeared via a videolink during a virtual audience to receive the ambassador of Egypt to the UK, Nasser Kame and Mrs Heba Ismail at Buckingham Palace. 

It is thought her comfort travelling from Windsor Westminster Palace was the cause of her absence at the Commonwealth Day service but it is thought she will still attend a Thanksgiving service due to be held at the abbey on Tuesday.

The palace has yet to confirm whether the 95-year-old Queen will be present at the service, with a source saying that she still ‘hopes to attend’. The event will be broadcast live on BBC One from 10.30am until 12.15pm.  

Tuesday’s service will ‘in particular pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh’s contribution to public life and steadfast support for the over 700 charitable organisations’ with which he was associated throughout his life.

Those in attendance will include members of the British Royal Family and foreign royal families as well as Philip’s wider family and friends.

There will also be more than 500 representatives of Philip’s patronages and charities, reflecting the causes and charitable interests he championed and as a tribute to those who continue his work.

The Queen still 'hopes to attend' a thanksgiving service dedicated to her late husband Prince Philip (pictured together in 2014) which is due to be held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday

The Queen still 'hopes to attend' a thanksgiving service dedicated to her late husband Prince Philip (pictured together in 2014) which is due to be held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday

The Queen still ‘hopes to attend’ a thanksgiving service dedicated to her late husband Prince Philip (pictured together in 2014) which is due to be held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday

The thanksgiving service for the life of Prince Philip will take place at Westminster Abbey

The thanksgiving service for the life of Prince Philip will take place at Westminster Abbey

The thanksgiving service for the life of Prince Philip will take place at Westminster Abbey

There will also be representatives from the Queen and Philip’s royal household, representatives from Philip’s regimental affiliations in the UK and the Commonwealth, and members of the clergy and other faiths.

It comes ahead of celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this summer. Among the events are a live concert featuring some of the world’s biggest stars, a service of thanksgiving and a day at the races.

On Sunday June 5, the Platinum Jubilee Pageant will be staged in London and feature more than 5,000 people from across the UK and Commonwealth. It will take place against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace and surrounding streets, combining street arts, theatre, music and circus. 

The Queen last attended a formal public engagement on October 19, when she held a reception at Windsor Castle for global business leaders.

The following morning she suddenly pulled out of a long-planned trip to Northern Ireland later that day on doctor’s advice.

Later that day she was secretly admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for what have only ever been described as ‘preliminary investigations’ and kept in overnight.

She was advised to undertake several weeks of rest by her medical household and even cancelled her ‘inked in’ appearance at the Remembrance Sunday service on November, sparking further fears for her health. 

Source: Daily Mail

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