What engagements has King Charles cancelled during the General Election?

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King Charles and many senior royals will be postponing any royal engagements that might ‘divert attention’ from the upcoming General Electio

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It was a soggy state of affairs as Rishi Sunak announced a snap 4th of July General Election yesterday evening – and the news that King Charles has been forced to cancel or postpone many of his upcoming engagements as a result will surely have rained on the parades of royal fans across the country.

It is standard protocol for a monarch (and all senior royals) to trim down their schedule in the run up to an election, to avoid any distractions from the campaigning or risks of perceived political biases. All the same, the cancellations will come as a disappointment to those hoping to see the King at this week’s planned engagements in Crewe and London. The King himself may be downhearted, too – it was widely-reported that His Highness was pleased by his recent return to public-facing duties following his cancer diagnosis.

A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace explained the decision: ‘Following the Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon calling a General Election, The Royal Family will – in accordance with normal procedure – postpone engagements that may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign.

‘Their Majesties send their sincere apologies to any of those who may be affected as a result.’

It is understood that the King’s most significant engagements will go ahead. This will include the King’s trip to Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-day landings in France. Charles and Queen Camilla will visit the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer on June 6, while Prince William will represent the monarch alongside veterans and heads of state at the international ceremony on Omaha Beach.

While the rest of the royal engagements are being reviewed by the Palace on a case-by-case basis, it is likely that the King will still attend Trooping the Colour (the official celebration of the monarch’s birthday), Royal Ascot, and Garter Day – an annual ceremony in honour of the Order of the Garter.

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It is unknown whether the official Japanese state visit will go ahead. The King invited Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan to visit the United Kingdom in late June.

Senior royals including the Prince of Wales and Princess Anne may also cancel events under the Palace decree. Per the Mail, the Princess Royal, considered by many to be the hardest working of the royal family, was set to attend the Founders’ Day Parade at Royal Hospital Chelsea, as well as visit the Hornet Sailing Club in Hampshire.

The King met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday, immediately after hosting a Palace reception to celebrate winners of the 20th Princes’ Trust awards.

Prime Minister Sunak will have informed the King of his decision to call an election, and the 15-minute meeting was followed by an announcement that Charles will dissolve parliament on 30 May.

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This will be the first time that King Charles undergoes the ceremonial duties expected of a monarch during an election. During the previous election, in 2019, it was the late Queen Elizabeth who formally welcomed a newly elected Boris Johnson as prime minister. The following premierships, those of Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, did not entail general elections, but King Charles did formally meet with both following their selection by Conservative party members.

Laura Bundock, royal correspondent at Sky News, reflected on the relationship between the Crown and parliament during an election:

‘The King’s constitutional role might seem ceremonial, but this is a reminder the Crown remains an integral part of parliament,’ she noted. ‘Only the King can appoint prime ministers, only the King approves Bills, and only the King can dissolve parliament.’

The curtailing of Charles’ schedule comes at a frustrating time for the King, who is known to have been thrilled to return to public-facing duties in the past few weeks. Last week, King Charles undertook five engagements in the space of just 48 hours. On Monday, he attended the Chelsea Flower Show with Queen Camilla, after the Royal Horticulture Society named Charles as their patron the week before.

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