Queen holds Privy Council – but no call with PM after Johnson reschedules

The monarch, who is staying at Windsor Castle, met virtually with Privy Counsellors on Wednesday – a day after missing the State Opening.

Laura Elston
Wednesday 11 May 2022 18:05
The Queen is head of the Privy Council and its role is to advise the monarch as she carries out her duties as head of state (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The Queen is head of the Privy Council and its role is to advise the monarch as she carries out her duties as head of state (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Queen held a Privy Council virtually on Wednesday, but will not have her weekly audience with the Prime Minister because Boris Johnson asked to reschedule, Buckingham Palace said.

A Palace spokesman said there would be no phone call with the PM, which usually takes place on Wednesday evening, because he was abroad.

Mr Johnson is on a trip to Sweden and Finland to sign historic security assurance declarations in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Queen and Boris Johnson at Windsor last October (Alastair Grant/PA)

The Queen, 96, missed the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday for the first time in nearly 60 years due to ongoing problems with her mobility.

She made the historic decision to delegate the duty of reading the Queen’s Speech to her son and heir the Prince of Wales for the first time, with Charles opening Parliament with the Duke of Cambridge in their roles as Counsellors of State.

The Queen is head of the Privy Council and its role is to advise the monarch as she carries out her duties as head of state.

It is one of the oldest parts of the UK’s constitutional arrangements, with its origins dating back to the time of the Norman kings when the monarch met in private – hence the description Privy – with his or her group of trusted counsellors who fulfilled the role that the Cabinet performs today.

The Queen missed the State Opening (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)

As well as advising the Queen, it provides administrative support for the leaders of the Commons and Lords. It also has responsibility for the affairs of 400 institutions, charities and companies incorporated by Royal Charter.

The body also has a judicial role as it is the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown Dependencies, and for a number of Commonwealth countries.

It also has a number of important executive functions – Parliament is dissolved by proclamation approved by the Queen in Council and the monarch formally prorogues Parliament on the Council’s advice.

The Leader of the House of Commons Mark Spencer is Lord President of the Council.

The Queen is facing “episodic mobility problems”, the Palace has said.

She has carried out only one major engagement outside of a royal residence or home in the last seven months.

In just a few weeks’ time, she is preparing to appear at some of the high-profile Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The Palace said she was looking forward to the festivities but her presence will not be confirmed until much nearer the time or even on the day of the events.

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