The Queen is making a "slow-motion abdication", meaning that we can expect to see much more of Prince Charles, a royal expert has claimed.
Her Majesty was forced to miss Tuesday's (May 10) State Opening of Parliament due to mobility issues following a slew of recent health scares.
It was the first time in 59 years that the 96-year-old monarch didn't give the Queen's speech.
Instead, her son Charles stepped in, flanked by Prince William and Camilla.
Royal expert Ed Owens, author of The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-1953, now says that the Royal Family is facing "difficult questions as to what comes next".
Writing in the Guardian, Owens described Tuesday's last minute switch as "the clearest sign yet that the Elizabeth II era is drawing to a close".
"This moment was always going to come," he wrote.
"Looking ahead to a busy summer of Platinum Jubilee events, one wonders whether she will be well enough to join in the celebrations.
"We can expect to see more and more of Prince Charles and less and less of the Queen, as one reign steadily draws to a close and a new reign begins."
The Queen watched Charles' performance in Parliament from the comfort of her home in Windsor.
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The Sovereign's Throne in the House of Lords was left symbolically empty throughout the ceremony, showing that the Queen remains as head of state.
Despite the strange arrangement sparking questions over whether Charles is now acting as a prince regent, or whether we'd ever see the Queen at full capacity again, insiders claim that she is still "very much" in charge.
Speaking to The Sun, royal sources were keen to shut down the abdication suggestions, revealing also that she was pleased to see her son fulfil such an important role.
One source said: "The Queen was very proud to see her son and grandson step in."
The Daily Star has approached Buckingham Palace for comment.
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