Queen Camilla waited a beat for King Charles to take the throne first
Queen Camilla is a pro at royal protocol — and gracefully saved a near mistake at the State Opening of Parliament.
On Tuesday, the 76-year-old Queen joined King Charles at the House of Lords Chamber at the Palace of Westminster to kick off the start of the parliamentary year. The State Opening of Parliament was extra special as the first of King Charles’ reign — and being new to the ceremony meant extra attention was paid to make sure they followed the rules.
As seen in footage of the ceremony shared by the U.K. Parliament, after the royal couple processed to the gold thrones, the Queen made a move to sit. But as monarch, King Charles is supposed to sit first as a gesture of respect — and even has an important line to deliver for the ceremony to move forward. Queen Camilla quickly caught the error and paused, waiting for her husband to sit first.
“My Lords, pray be seated,” the King said, and the gathered officials took their seats too.
As consort, Queen Camilla sat to King Charles’ left, taking the same spot that Prince Philip did when Queen Elizabeth helmed the State Opening of Parliament through her royal reign. The Duke of Edinburgh, who died in 2021, opted to do things his own way (in typical style!) at what would be the last State Opening of Parliament he attended.
In a video shared by Parliament of the event in 2016, Prince Philip didn’t descend to his throne until after Queen Elizabeth said the same line: “My Lords, pray be seated.”
The monarch traditionally leads the way at ceremonial events, and King Charles was crowned before Queen Camilla on the May 6 coronation day.
Similarly, partners of those in the line of succession often let their spouses take the lead. While visiting Scotland last week, Kate Middleton introduced herself to schoolchildren in a surprising way: as Prince William’s wife.
As seen in a clip shared to X by fan blog RoyallyBelle_, the comment came as the Princess of Wales 41, chatted with kids at Burghead Primary School during the couple’s joint outing on Nov. 2.
"Who am I? I'm married to William,” Kate explained and pointed to her left, though William wasn't seen on screen.
Princess Kate's answer highlighted her supportive role to Prince William, who is the current heir to the throne and set to be king one day.
"She’s never trying to outshine him in any way," royal biographer Penny Junor previously told PEOPLE about the couple's dynamic. "I think that Kate is a bit like Prince Philip supporting the Queen. She doesn’t outshine William but still has a lot to say herself."
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Queen Camilla is similarly supportive of King Charles and was by his side as he delivered the first King’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament. The remarks are written by the government and outline its policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
Because Queen Elizabeth was the monarch and gave the Queen's Speech instead, the address was the first King's Speech in over 70 years, since the reign of Queen Elizabeth's father, King George VI.
Charles memorably stepped in for Queen Elizabeth at the State Opening of Parliament in May 2022. Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen, who died in September 2022 at age 96, would miss the event due to "episodic mobility problems." For the first time, Charles represented his mother and read the Queen's Speech.
During the 11-minute address, which outlined the administration's objectives, the then-Prince Charles used the often repeated phrase "Her Majesty's government" instead of "My government," which is what Queen Elizabeth would have used if she had delivered the speech. On Tuesday, he used the phrases “my government” and “my ministers."
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