The Prince of Wales has opened Parliament and delivered the Queen’s Speech for the first time in history.
Heir to the throne Charles, in his Admiral of the Fleet uniform, took on the monarch’s constitutional duty in the House of Lords amid the pomp and ceremony of the State Opening.
It is the first time in nearly 60 years that the Queen, 96, has missed the occasion.
She reluctantly pulled out on the advice of royal doctors due to her continued mobility problems, but watched the proceedings on television from Windsor Castle.
Charles was joined by the Duke of Cambridge, with the pair jointly opening Parliament on the Queen’s behalf as Counsellors of State after the monarch delegated the important duty to them.
The 73-year-old prince sat not on the sovereign’s throne, which had been removed, but on the consort’s throne, which used to be occupied by his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, and which Charles has used in recent years.
A space remained next to him, where the Queen’s missing throne is usually located, under the opulent canopy, with the monarch’s Imperial State Crown in front on a velvet cushion.
On either side of Charles were William, in a morning coat, at his first State Opening, and the Duchess of Cornwall, wearing a day dress and hat, in the Chairs of State.
Charles delivered the speech in the third person, using “Her Majesty’s Government”.
As he took on the head of state’s major constitutional duty for the first time, the move has been interpreted as a symbolic and significant shift in his responsibilities as a future monarch.
The prince walked through the Palace of Westminster pausing at moments to greet dignitaries.
Charles, with Camilla at his side, and William behind, walked slowly and steadily as he processed to his seat.