Queen to swear in new prime minister at Balmoral in historic first

Royal Editor Chris Ship reports on the tradition that began with Winston Churchill and has lasted for 14 prime ministers

The Queen is unable to travel to London to meet her new prime minister next week, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

Instead, the winner of the contest to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative leader and prime minister will have to travel to Balmoral to see her.

The change in plan comes after the Queen has faced months of mobility issues and missed several key events.

The Queen traditionally spends her summer break at the Balmoral residence. Credit: PA

Next week, Mr Johnson will be replaced by either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak on September 6.

The initial plan had been for the 96-year old Monarch to travel from Balmoral - where she traditionally spends her summer break every year - to London or Windsor.

The Queen would ordinarily hold an audience with the outgoing and incoming prime ministers at Buckingham Palace.

Royal Editor Chris Ship explains what can be learnt from the Palace's statement

Royal sources say the change of plan is to create certainty for the prime minister's travel arrangements and they want to avoid having to make a last-minute change of plan were the Queen to develop mobility issues.

During her 70-year reign, the Queen had been served by 14 prime ministers, and Ms Truss or Mr Sunak will become her 15th one.

The new PM will be required to fly from London to Aberdeenshire on their first day in office. Similarly, Boris Johnson will have to make the same journey.

The Queen welcoming Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party in July 2019. Credit: PA

The Queen's mobility issues forced her to cancel a number of engagements in recent months.

She missed the State Opening of Parliament in May and was instead represented by her son, Prince Charles and daughter-in-law, Camilla, who are the future King and Queen Consort.

Prince William also attended the event in the House of Lords.

The Queen also missed the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March, she been unable to make any of the traditional summer garden parties this year and was represented at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham by her sons Prince Charles and Prince Edward.

The issues began in the Autumn of last year when the Queen pulled out of a visit to Northern Ireland and could not attend Remembrance Sunday - an event to honour the sacrifice of the military which she would always endeavour to attend.

The Queen is now regularly pictured with a walking stick and used a golf buggy for the first time to assist her mobility when she attended the Chelsea Flower Show in May.

Her Majesty usually stays in Balmoral every year until the beginning of October.

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