Queen Elizabeth II, in residence at Windsor Castle, appears on a screen via videolink during a virtual audience at Buckingham Palace in London today

The Queen announces she will NOT attend summer Garden Parties

The Queen held a virtual audience with the new High Commissioner for Saint Lucia today after announcing she will miss this year’s Buckingham Palace Garden Parties.

Other royals been asked to represent the 96-year-old monarch because she would have had to stand for more than an hour and move down the lines greeting people.

The head of state, who has been suffering from mobility and health issues in recent months, will not be at the events which are taking place for the first time since 2019.

And royal expert Angela Levin said today: ‘It’s a good decision for the Queen not to attend garden parties as there would be too much standing. What a shame though.’

It comes as the Queen continued her desk-based duties from Windsor Castle today as she carried out a virtual audience via videolink to receive Anthony Severin, the new High Commissioner for Saint Lucia, who was at Buckingham Palace in London.

They would have likely discussed last month’s tour to the Caribbean island on the Queen’s behalf by her son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex received a mixed reception during their visit, and the Queen was urged to apologise for slavery by protesters seeking reparations.

Queen Elizabeth II, in residence at Windsor Castle, appears on a screen via videolink during a virtual audience at Buckingham Palace in London today

The Queen receives Anthony Severin, the new High Commissioner for Saint Lucia, today

Edward and Sophie were met by a group of protesters in Saint Lucia before a trip to a cocoa plantation, who displayed banners reading ‘repatriation with reparations’.

They also faced similar demonstrations in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where some held signs saying ‘compensation now’ and ‘Britain your debt is outstanding’.

The couple were also urged to use their ‘diplomatic influence’ to provide ‘reparatory justice’ by the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda while in the country.

Edward was criticised for ‘disinterest’ in Gaston Browne’s speech by anti-monarchist campaigners, after he was seen nervously laughing when asked to respond.

The Earl joked that he had not been taking notes during Mr Browne’s opening remarks, so could not respond to all the points he had made.

Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex meet Philip Pierre, the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, at his residence on the Caribbean island at the start of their tour last month on April 22

As for the royal Garden Parties, normally there are up to three at Buckingham Palace each summer, as well as another at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

After the past two years saw the parties cancelled because of the pandemic, royal aides announced this morning that they would return this summer.

The three events at Buckingham Palace will take place on the next three Wednesdays of this month – May 11, 18 and 25. The Holyroodhouse party will be on June 29.

The parties will take place in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year and held for guests in recognition of their positive contributions to communities across Britain.

The Queen attends an audience with Switzerland’s president at Windsor Castle on April 28

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said today: ‘Her Majesty The Queen will be represented by other Members of the Royal Family at this year’s Garden Parties, with details on attendance to be confirmed in due course.’

There will also be a ‘Not Forgotten Association Annual Garden Party’ next Thursday, May 12 which will be hosted by Princess Anne who is patron of the charity.

The Not Forgotten Association provides entertainment, leisure and recreation for the serving wounded, injured or sick and for ex-service men and women with disabilities.

The Garden Party for the organisation, which will also be held at Buckingham Palace, will bring together more than 2,000 beneficiaries of all ages and from all services.

The Queen is driven through Sandringham to her helicopter to return to Windsor on April 27

The Queen attended a service commemorating the life of her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh in March with senior royals and a congregation of hundreds.

She reached her Platinum Jubilee in February, overcame Covid after testing positive that month, and celebrated her 96th birthday privately on April 21 at Sandringham.

Last October, she spent a night in hospital and spent the following three months under doctors’ orders to only conduct light duties and missed a number of events.

The Queen has been using a walking stick in public since she attended a service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion last October.

2019 — The Queen attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London on May 29, 2019

There will be speculation about whether the Queen will attend the State Opening of Parliament next Tuesday which could see her represented by the Prince of Wales.

Prince Charles is the likely candidate to read the Queen’s Speech which sets out the Government’s policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.

Since 2016 the monarch has used the lift at Sovereign’s Entrance rather than the stairs when arriving and leaving the Palace of Westminster.

The Queen has opened Parliament all but two times during her reign.

The exceptions were in 1959, the year she was pregnant with the Duke of York, and 1963, when she was pregnant with the Earl of Wessex.

2019 — The Queen at a party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on July 3, 2019

The ceremony was not held in 2020 and last year a reduced capacity Covid secure State Opening of Parliament was staged with the Queen present.

On Tuesday, the Queen’s hopes of winning the Epsom Derby during her Jubilee year ended after her horse Reach For The Moon and two others were withdrawn.

She is a passionate horse owner and breeder and would have been looking forward to seeing her horses take on the best in the world in the famous classic.

The race, which organisers hope the monarch will attend, is being staged during the June Bank Holiday weekend when celebrations mark the Queen’s 70-year reign.

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