The Queen has asked Prince Charles to lay her wreath on Remembrance Sunday in a further sign of the gradual transition of duties within the royal family and an acknowledgement of her age.
In a break with tradition, Charles will place his 91-year-old mother’s floral tribute at the base of the Cenotaph in London on 12 November while an equerry will lay 96-year-old Prince Philip’s wreath.
It is the first time the Queen will be present at the Remembrance Day service and not lay a wreath.
The Queen and Philip will watch the ceremony from a balcony at the Foreign Office overlooking the Cenotaph in Whitehall, traditionally used by female royals including the Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The Queen wishes to be alongside the Duke of Edinburgh and he will be on the balcony.”
Philip retired from solo public duties earlier this year, but will still accompany the Queen on certain occasions.
The Remembrance Day service would require the elderly couple to stand for a significant amount of time.
The Queen’s wreath is laid on behalf of the nation. The service is seen by the Queen as one of the most important events in her diary and she has only missed it on a handful of occasions because of either being abroad on tour, or due to pregnancy.
Her decision to hand the responsibility to Charles is illustrative of how both Buckingham Palace and Clarence House see the heir gradually taking over more of his mother’s duties.
Since she no longer undertakes long-haul travel, Charles already represents her on official visits overseas, including at the biennial Commonwealth heads of government meeting.
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