Queen Elizabeth broke a major royal tradition this weekend! After 65 years of laying a wreath at London’s war memorial during England’s Remembrance Sunday service, the Queen, 91, handed over the honor to her son, Prince Charles. During the ceremony, the Queen chose to stand beside her husband Prince Philip and watch from a balcony above. The shift in roles marks a change in the Queen’s royal duties moving forward — and suggests that her age and health are finally beginning to take a toll on the long-ruling monarch.
The Queen has only missed the wreath-laying ceremony six times in her 65 years of public service, either because she was traveling or pregnant with her sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
However, as the Queen gets close to 100, she has been steadily handing over her royal duties to Charles, 68, the future king of England, and her other younger family members, including Princes William and Harry. Last year, she stepped down as patron of 25 national charities.
The Queen isn’t the only one taking a step back from royal duties. Queen Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip announced in May that he would be retiring from royal duties beginning this fall. The Prince is 96.
According to author Robert Lacey, the Queen’s decision to stand with Prince Philip rather than lay the wreath was “a sign of partnership.” “The two of them are working together to allow Charles forward,” Robert told People.
However, the royal couples’ age is also a cause for concern. Last year, the two cancelled their annual holiday trip after they both fell ill. “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have heavy colds, and so have decided not to travel to Sandringham today,” a palace spokesperson said at the time.
Then in June, Prince Philip was rushed to the hospital after getting an infection. The Queen was forced to deliver the State Opening of Parliament without her husband by her side, and was instead accompanied by her son Prince Charles. The incident may have led the Queen to decide to spend less time on royal duties and more time with her ailing husband.
Do you think Prince Charles will continue to take on more royal duties as Queen Elizabeth focuses on her and her husband Prince Philip’s health? Sound off in the comments below!