Queen Elizabeth II next week will appoint the new British prime minister at Balmoral Castle in Scotland — the first time the ceremony has taken place at the highland estate during the monarch’s long reign.
The decision was taken to hold the ceremony, called “kissing hands,” where the monarch says goodbye to one prime minister and hello to the next, in Scotland to provide certainty for the incoming and outgoing prime ministers’ diaries and avoid any last-minute changes should the queen experience mobility issues, a palace official said.
The queen, who is 96, is in Scotland at Balmoral Castle, where she usually spends her summer vacation. The ceremony is traditionally held in London’s Buckingham Palace.
Under the new arrangements, Boris Johnson, the outgoing leader who resigned following a string of scandals, will head to Balmoral on Tuesday. He will be led to a room with the queen, where he will bow and then tender his resignation. The two may chat for a bit before Johnson leaves. Soon after, Johnson’s successor will arrive and, following a bow or a curtsy, will ask the queen for permission to form a new government.
The new prime minister, Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, will be the queen’s 15th prime minister. If Truss does become the next prime minister, as the polling suggests, she will be the country’s third female prime minister. The Conservative Party leadership contest winner, chosen by a “selectorate” of about 150,000-200,000 Conservative Party members, will be announced on Monday.
The queen has canceled or cut back on several official duties since she spent a night in the hospital last year. Her eldest son, Prince Charles, Britain’s longest-serving king in waiting, has filled in for his mother at many events, including the opening of the Commonwealth Games and the ceremonial State Opening of Parliament.
He also filled in for his mother during various events at her Platinum Jubilee — although the queen made three appearances on Buckingham Palace’s balcony, including a surprise one on the final day of celebrations.