For the first time in over 50 years, Queen Elizabeth II will not be present for a historic event.
Just one day before the May 10 State Opening of Parliament is set to take place—a ceremony in which the Queen would normally attend—Buckingham Palace announced in a statement that the 96-year-old monarch will have to miss the annual occasion.
"The Queen continues to experience episodic mobility problems, and in consultation with her doctors has reluctantly decided that she will not attend the State Opening of Parliament tomorrow," the statement read. Referring to her eldest son Prince Charles and eldest grandson Prince William, it continued, "At Her Majesty's request, and with the agreement of the relevant authorities, The Prince of Wales will read The Queen's speech on Her Majesty's behalf, with The Duke of Cambridge also in attendance."
As for the significance of the event, Queen Elizabeth traditionally opens Parliament at the ceremony with a speech that sets out the agenda of the government and the laws that it wants to introduce.
It is also the only regular event that unites the three elements of the U.K. Legislature: the House of Lords, the House of Commons and the Queen.
The British monarch has previously missed this event only twice during her 70-year reign. The first was in 1959 while she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and the second was in 1963, right before welcoming Prince Edward.
Over the past few months and ahead of her 96th birthday, Queen Elizabeth has also missed a few other public events, citing health concerns. In early April, Buckingham Palace confirmed that she would not be in attendance for the Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17.
The Queen is still planning to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this upcoming June.