LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth has asked her eldest son, Prince Charles, to lay a wreath on her behalf at London’s main war memorial on Remembrance Sunday, breaking with her usual custom of laying it herself.
The monarch will view the long wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London on Nov. 12 from the balcony of the nearby Foreign Office, alongside her husband Prince Philip, who is 96.
“At Her Majesty’s request, a wreath will be laid on her behalf by The Prince of Wales,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement, referring to the heir-to-the-throne by his official title.
The wreath-laying itself involves bending over to place the wreath at the foot of the Cenotaph, then walking backwards down a few steps.
A palace source said the queen had primarily made the decision to view the ceremony from the balcony to be with her husband, whilst also acknowledging that the event itself was demanding for someone in their 90s.
The head of state has been gradually reducing her workload and younger royals including Charles have been taking up some of her duties.
Philip retired from public life in August but was keen to attend the annual ceremony, which commemorates the fallen of two World Wars and later conflicts.
The queen has missed the wreath-laying ceremony only six times in her 65-year reign.
On four of those occasions she was on foreign visits: to Ghana in 1961, Brazil in 1968, Kenya in 1983 and South Africa in 1999.
She also missed the ceremonies in 1959 and 1963, before the births of her two youngest children, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison