Her Brittanic Majesty, The Queen Elizabeth II Windsor opened Parliament with her Speech on the plans of her Government for the next Session.
Only...you may notice that there were extra Royals in appearence. Usually, the Queen, and her Consort, Prince Philip, are the only Royals Present...However, an interesting thing is going on in European Monarchic Houses at the moment. With the Monarchs living longer, there has been pressure on some of the European Houses to abdicate in favour of younger Heirs.
Her Majesty has no plans to abdicate because she would see that as dereliction of duty. Neither at present can she Co-Reign, unless she is basically terminally ill and incapacitated...at which point she CAN nominate a Regent to Rule on her behalf.
Despite the above, Buckingham Palace have expressed that it is unlikely that The Queen will do any more overseas tours.
Some people are worried that she is ill...but my personal feelings are that the issue here is NOT her...but her Husband. Prince Philip is even older then her, and he has had health problems...She doesnt like to do things without her Husband...and I think it is because its become unsafe for HIM to travel...that she is abstaining.
Therefore Prince Charles as Heir apparent, now has to begin to act directly on her behalf abroad. Infact...she has said that she will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of State meeting...and she hasnt missed one of those in fourty years!! She will instead send Prince Charles...who is NOT head of State, but will, for that meeting, effectively be Prince Regent.
Not only does this show that Elizabeth is listening and pre-empting the continental monarchic issue of old age, and looking after the needs of Prince Philip...it also consolidates in the Commonwealth, that its her expectation that Charles will succeed her, in all roles...and this is training in preparation for her death.
So Charles and Camilla were also present at the State Opening of Parliament...Something which has never happened before...Well...not since the Regent for Mad King George
(the one who lost the collonies