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Lip reader reveals what Prince Charles said secretly at Opening of Parliament

By Neil Shaw

Prince Charles's off-hand comments as he delivered the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament this week have been revealed by a lip reader. The Prince of Wales stepped in for his mother who has missed a number of key engagements in recent months due to poor health and mobility problems.

In the absence of the Queen, Charles’ reading of the Queen’s Speech was a highly symbolic occasion. With the Queen’s advancing years, the move has been interpreted as a significant shift in the prince’s responsibilities in his role supporting his 96-year-old mother.

The monarch reluctantly pulled out on the advice of royal doctors due to her continued mobility problems and delegated her role to the prince and his son the duke, but watched the proceedings on television from Windsor Castle.

In his full regalia – Admiral of the Fleet uniform, medals and honour insignia – Charles, with the Duchess of Cornwall, achieved what one royal commentator described as “another part of his training”, albeit a duty he probably did not want to fulfil given the circumstances.

And it was the regalia that sparked the first comment, according to The Mirror. As Charles and Camilla got out of their vehicle at the Sovereign's entrance, the pair appeared to exchange a few words before they went inside the building. Jeremy Freeman, an expert in lip reading told the Mirror Charles told Camilla: "Oh my word that was uncomfortable".

Shortly afterwards, Charles could be seen gesturing to Camilla, appearing to tell her what side she should be standing on. And according to Jeremy, as he points out where Camilla should stand, he says: "Your side."

Meanwhile a few minutes later as Charles greets officers lining the route to the throne room, he approaches the last one and says: "I hope you're well."

The officer then leans forward as he didn't hear the remark and according to Jeremy says: "what, sorry?". Charles the repeats what he said to the officer, who replies: "Well, yes I'm trying."

Charles and William jointly opened Parliament on the Queen’s behalf as Counsellors of State after the monarch delegated the important duty to them.

The 73-year-old prince sat not on the sovereign’s throne, which had been removed, but on the consort’s throne, which used to be occupied by his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, and which Charles has used in recent years.

A space remained next to him, where the Queen’s missing throne is usually located, under the opulent canopy, with the monarch’s Imperial State Crown in front on a velvet cushion.

On either side of Charles were William, in a morning coat, and Camilla, wearing a day dress and hat, in the Chairs of State.

The ceremony was a first for second-in-line-to-the-throne William, 39, who will also one day be king.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, described the occasion as a “big moment in royal history”.

Mr Little said of Charles: “It must have been a hugely significant moment for him.

“It was rather telling the way that as the Imperial State Crown was placed on the table at the side of him, he looked at it for several seconds.

“You kind of wondered at the time what was going through his mind.

“As people have been saying today, we’re looking at the future.

“It was a duty that he would rather not have had to fulfil but nevertheless that’s what he and William were there for as Counsellors of State.

“It’s a big moment in royal history.”

A new Letters Patent authorised by the Queen was issued to cover the State Opening delegating to Counsellors of State the royal function of opening a new session of Parliament.

No other functions have been delegated by the Queen.

The last time the Queen missed the State Opening of Parliament was in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and then Prince Edward, and her speech was read by the Lord Chancellor.

Constitutional expert Dr Bob Morris, of UCL’s Constitution Unit, told the PA news agency that the arrangements were unprecedented.

He added that it was “more likely than not” that the arrangements would continue for future state openings, meaning the Queen may never carry out a state opening again.

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Dive Deeper:
Prince Charles's moan to Camilla at State Opening of Parliament revealed by lip reader
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were both at the State Opening of Parliament today with Charles stepping in for…
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Historic State Opening of Parliament sees Charles deliver Queen’s Speech
The last time the Queen missed the State Opening of Parliament was in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant…
Charles delivers Queen’s Speech at historic State Opening of Parliament
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One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
A missing Queen, a removed throne and an almost-king Charles gazing on the crown
The State Opening of Parliament was familiar but different, with the Queen absent for the first time in nearly 60…
Prince Charles steps in for Queen and is joined by William at State Opening of Parliament
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Get all your news in one place