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- Prince Charles has been seen making 'highly unusual' visits Balmoral, the royal estate where the Queen is currently residing
- The visits have prompted speculation around the Queen's health, which she has been struggling with for almost a year
- In other royal news (opens in new tab), Prince Harry (opens in new tab) shared some heartbreaking words for Princess Diana ahead of the anniversary of her death (opens in new tab)
The Queen has been suffering from episodic mobility issues (opens in new tab) for almost a year now, hindering her public appearances and impacting the carrying out of her royal responsibilities. This year, for the first time ever, Prince Charles was forced to step up and take centre stage at the State Opening of Parliament, reading the speech and announcing the opening on behalf of his mother, the Queen, as she could not attend.
More recently, The Queen made her annual Summer move to Balmoral and has not been seen attending church on Sundays as usual and the traditional welcoming party on her arrival at the Scottish estate was moved behind closed doors. In fact, the Queen has not been pictured in public since getting off her plane at Aberdeen Airport on July 21, sparking much conversation and fear around her health.
While The Queen is expected to make an appearance at the annual Braemar games next weekend, 'highly unusual' daily visits made by Prince Charles to Balmoral suggest the Prince is concerned for his mother.
The concern likely stems from the fact that the Queen is expected to play a leading role in political life in the coming weeks.
As the UK gears up to appoint a new Prime Minister, the name of whom will be announced on 5 September, the Queen must fulfil her key constitutional role of confirming and meeting that PM.
But The Sun reports that the 96-year-old monarch is not expected to leave Scotland to appoint this new Prime Minister. It is at yet unclear how the confirmation will work as the Queen has largely stepped back from public life.
The Queen has also permanently moved out of Buckingham Palace, instead favouring Windsor, which raises further questions about what location the meeting would take place at if she was involved.
Speculation about whether Prince Charles will be asked to step in for his mother, as he was at the state opening of parliament earlier this year, has increased as he continues to visit Scotland. A move such as this would, reportedly, prompt royal experts to declare a shift to an unofficial regency.
Speaking about Charles’ visits to Balmoral, Ingrid Seward (opens in new tab) of Majesty Magazine, told The Mirror, "It’s highly unusual for Prince Charles to make these kinds of impromptu visits to see his mother. But Charles is a very thoughtful person - and who else can she rely on now Prince Philip has gone?
"Everyone thinks they normally see each other all the time, but they don’t. They often blame it on the geography because everyone is scattered all around the country."
As well as Prince Charles, Kate Middleton (opens in new tab) and Prince William (opens in new tab), along with their three children Prince George (opens in new tab), Princess Charlotte (opens in new tab) and Prince Louis (opens in new tab) are also at Balmoral to spend the last weeks of the summer holiday in the Highlands.
Disgraced Prince Andrew is also said to be staying at Balmoral and arrived the day after the Queen did. The mother and son are said to be locked in intense talks about his future role within the royal family.
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