Queen to miss Braemar Royal Highland Gathering in Scotland due to mobility problems

The Queen will miss the Braemar Gathering – the popular Highland Games event which the Prince of Wales is scheduled to attend on Saturday.

Members of the royal family usually attend the sporting spectacle rooted in tradition and are pictured enjoying themselves as feats of strength, dexterity and stamina are staged.

But the Queen, who has been suffering from mobility problems since last autumn, will not attend with the decision taken for her comfort, it is understood.

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Queen Elizabeth II, along with the Prince of Wales (Duke of Rothesay), and the Duchess of Cornwall, during the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

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The Prince of Wales will join spectators on Saturday for the gathering, which attracts crowds from the across the globe who watch competitors take part in the caber toss, hammer throw, and tug-o-war.

This year's Braemar competition has marked its long-awaited return after a hiatus due to the Covid pandemic.

Queen Victoria started the royal tradition of attending the Braemar Games in 1848, which has been continued by Queen Elizabeth, who has rarely missed the event. Held on the first weekend in September, the event usually coincides with the annual visit from the Prime Minister.

In another change with convention, on Tuesday the Queen will appoint the new prime minister at her Scottish retreat of Balmoral for the first time in her reign.

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The 96-year-old monarch traditionally holds audiences with outgoing and incoming premiers at Buckingham Palace.

But Boris Johnson, who will tender his resignation, and the new Conservative Party leader who will be asked to form a government, either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, will make the 1,000-mile round trip to Balmoral Castle for the key audiences on instead.

It is believed to be the first time in the monarch’s 70 years on the throne that she has conducted the historic duty away from Buckingham Palace.

The Queen, who celebrated her Platinum Jubilee this year, is on her traditional summer break in the Scottish Highlands, but has faced health issues since last autumn. She also contracted Covid in February.

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The monarch has missed a series of high-profile engagements this year, including the State Opening of Parliament, the Platinum Jubilee Concert and the commemorative Derby.

In the past seven months, Buckingham Palace has tended to confirm the Queen's attendance at public engagements on the day, depending on how she is feeling.

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