Queen Elizabeth's Royal Duties Changed Amid Health Struggles

Queen Elizabeth II's royal duties as the U.K.'s head of state have been rolled back as she continues dealing with mobility problems. The 96-year-old monarch's list of "official duties" was edited for the first time in about a decade in the 2022 Sovereign Grant report, according to The Sunday Telegraph. More duties were delegated to Prince Charles, 73.

The list leaves out specific events, including the State Opening of Parliament, that were considered necessary. The new report, approved by Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, shows a new definition for her roles as Head of State and Head of Nation in place of the previous 13-point list.

"The role of Head of State, which is a formal constitutional concept, common to all nations and involves the official duties which The Queen, by constitutional convention, must fulfill," the report reads. On the other hand, Head of Nation is a "symbolic role," that involves duties the Queen "carries out where appropriate or necessary."

The roles of Head of State are more loosely defined in the 2022 report. Notably, it reads that the Queen only "receives the credentials of foreign Ambassadors and receives visits from other Heads of State," instead of visiting them. The Prince of Wales is expected to do all traveling on her behalf, like the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, as the Queen is not expected to travel outside the U.K. again. Prince Charles also attended the State Opening of Parliament to read a message from the Queen.

As Head of Nation, the Queen will continue inspiring "unity and national identity" and "continuity and stability." She will also recognize the "achievement and success" of others, including volunteers and military service members. The report notes that the "regular rhythm" of annual royal events "provides reassurance" to many. These events include Trooping the Colour, Garter Day, the Royal Maundy Service, Holyrood Week, and Royal Ascot Week. This list previously included the State Opening. While the Queen attended four of these events, Charles led them. Charles also attended the Royal Maundy Service without the Queen.

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The report also hints at future events being led by other members of the Queen's family. "The Queen's programme aims to bring Her Majesty into contact with all sections of society, at all levels and across the country," the report reads. "In this role, The Queen is greatly assisted by other members of the Royal Family who undertake official duties on behalf of Her Majesty and by the traditional political neutrality of the Monarchy."

A palace source told the Telegraph the changes to the Queen's role were not "drastic," but just a "small update." The changes come after Queen Elizabeth noted in her post-Platinum Jubilee statement that her "heart has been with you all" even though she did not attend every event and said she remains "committed" to serving the U.K. "to the best of my ability, supported by my family."