Queen Elizabeth II has missed only three Queen’s Speeches in her near 70 years on the throne, with the other two owing to the pregnancies of Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
The 96-year-old monarch reluctantly pulled out on the advice of Royal doctors due to her continued mobility problems, but was said to have watched the proceedings on television from Windsor Castle.
In her place was Prince of Wales who delivered the speech for the first time and in the third person, using “Her Majesty’s Government”.
Watching Prince Charles walk through the Royal Chamber to the House of Lords in his Admiral of the Fleet uniform to fulfil the monarch’s constitutional duty was a symbolic and stark reminder of the seismic changes that are coming for the nation.
The 73-year-old prince of course did not sit on the sovereign’s throne, which had been removed, but rather on the consort’s throne, which used to be occupied by his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, and which he himself has used in recent years.
But the space remained next to him was what caught the eye.
Next to him was the place the Queen’s missing throne is usually located, with the monarch’s Imperial State Crown sitting in front on a velvet cushion.
The spectacle served as a reminder that we are approaching a seminal time in our country’s history.
The Queen has served her nation with unfailing sense of grace, strength and duty during her entire reign, always putting the country first no matter the cost to herself.
Her example, and the ceremony itself, are an important reminder that, while time proceeds, the monarchy endures.