Queen Elizabeth Will Appoint New Prime Minister in Scotland for the First Time Amid Mobility Issues

·2 min read
Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she attends the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland (also known as the Royal Company of Archers) Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she attends the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland (also known as the Royal Company of Archers) Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse

JANE BARLOW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Queen Elizabeth

For the first time in her historic 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth will appoint a new prime minister in Scotland.

Buckingham Palace confirmed Wednesday that the monarch, 96, will receive either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as leader of the Conservative Party at Balmoral Castle, where she traditionally spends her summers, on Sept. 6. Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also travel to Scotland for a formal farewell.

A source explains that the decision was taken for the audiences to take place at Balmoral to provide certainty for the new prime minister and Johnson's schedules. The Queen has been experiencing episodic mobility issues, and they wanted to avoid the issue of alternative arrangements at the last minute had the plan been for the monarch to travel to London or Windsor Castle.

Appointing the prime minister is one of the Queen's key duties, one she wouldn't delegate to her son and heir Prince Charles. Charles, 73, has been undertaking an increasing number of roles on the monarch's behalf in recent months.

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Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth
Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth

Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth

Truss or Sunak will become the 15th prime minister of Queen Elizabeth's reign.

Although she met her first prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill, when she stepped off the plane that brought her back from Kenya to Britain in 1952, all the others have gone to see her at the palace.

When Theresa May was replaced by Johnson in the summer of 2019, the Queen postponed her holiday in Scotland to meet with Johnson at Buckingham Palace.

Johnson announced his forthcoming resignation in July, largely prompted by the COVID-19 "Partygate" scandal, in which 16 social gatherings were found to have taken place in Downing Street during a 20-month period of various levels of COVID-related lockdowns in England.

Queen Elizabeth II waves as she attends an Armed Forces Act of Loyalty Parade at the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Queen Elizabeth II waves as she attends an Armed Forces Act of Loyalty Parade at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images Queen Elizabeth

The Queen headed to Scotland in July and will welcome many visitors and family members during her time there. Kate Middleton and Prince William made their way to Balmoral along with their three children for a visit earlier this month.

Traditionally, she is seen arriving at the Highlands estate in a short ceremony, captured by photographers, with soldiers from a Scottish regiment as military pipers and well-wishers gather at the gates of her estate. This year, her arrival happened privately on the estate grounds.

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A general view of Balmoral Castle, which is one of the residences of the Royal family, and where Queen Elizabeth II traditionally spends the summer months.
A general view of Balmoral Castle, which is one of the residences of the Royal family, and where Queen Elizabeth II traditionally spends the summer months.

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Balmoral Castle

Although it's a vacation, it's not all play for the monarch while she's away in the Scottish Highlands. Queen Elizabeth continues to work, reading her diplomatic papers in the famous "red boxes" delivered daily. She also normally continues to hold audiences and undertake some public engagements.