Queen Elizabeth to meet 15th prime minister at Balmoral

Departing PM and incoming leader will travel to Scotland for the ceremony

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Queen Elizabeth II will not travel to Buckingham Palace to appoint the UK’s incoming prime minister ― a break from tradition that is being blamed on her frail health.

Instead, the queen will appoint the new leader in Balmoral, Scotland, where she is staying.

Both departing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the incoming leader ― either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak ― will travel to Balmoral for the ceremony with the 96-year-old monarch.

The queen will receive Mr Johnson on Tuesday, at Balmoral, followed by an audience with the new prime minister, a Buckingham Palace representative said.

It is understood the decision was taken at this stage to provide certainty for the prime minister's diary.

If the queen were to experience difficulty in moving about next week and the plan had been to travel to London or Windsor, it would have led to alternative arrangements at the last minute.

The monarch traditionally holds audiences with departing and incoming leaders at Buckingham Palace.

The queen is on her traditional summer break in the Scottish Highlands.

A palace representative confirmed the decision on Wednesday.

The queen has missed a number of events in the past year, since she spent a night in hospital.

Prince Charles, Prince William and other senior royals have stood in for her at some official events.

As head of state, the monarch appoints the prime minster to lead Britain's government.

The last time an incoming prime minister did not meet the monarch at Buckingham Palace was 1908, when Herbert Henry Asquith travelled to Edward VII in the French city of Biarritz for his appointment.

The queen has seen 14 prime ministers, from the Second World War statesman Sir Winston Churchill to Boris Johnson, and now she is preparing to welcome her 15th.

Political leaders have consistently paid tribute to the monarch for her sage advice and impressive knowledge of home and world affairs during her private weekly audiences with her PMs.

Churchill, her first prime minister, is thought to be her favourite. He greeted the young, grieving monarch back on British soil after her sudden return from Kenya after the death of her father, King George VI.

Mr Johnson revealed in a parliamentary tribute to the queen earlier this jubilee year that his regular meetings with the monarch were always "immensely comforting, because she has seen the sweep of it".

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Updated: August 31, 2022, 2:04 PM
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