A Twist in How Queen Will Appoint New Prime Minister

It'll happen in Scotland this time
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 31, 2022 8:42 AM CDT
A Twist in How Queen Will Appoint New Prime Minister
Queen Elizabeth II attends an armed forces act of loyalty parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, on June 28, 2022.   (Jane Barlow/Pool via AP)

On Monday, Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will be named leader of the Conservative Party, but their Tuesday audience with the queen will be unlike any other during her 70-year reign, reports NBC News. This one will be in Scotland. The 96-year-old monarch traditionally bids the outgoing prime minister farewell and welcomes the new prime minister at Buckingham Palace, her official London residence. In a break from that tradition, she will receive Britain's outgoing Prime Minster Boris Johnson, who will formally tender his resignation to her, and his successor at Balmoral, the queen's summer holiday home in the Scottish Highlands.

The queen has been having mobility problems and has cancelled some engagements in recent months. "It's a very significant change," a constitutional law expert tells NBC News. "It's ... another step on that journey we're going on, with the queen doing less and less." British media reported that the decision to have her remain in Scotland was taken to provide certainty to the political handover schedule. Typically, the outgoing PM would be dismissed from his or her role by the queen at Buckingham Palace, with the incoming PM then going to see her there, where she asks whether they will form a government, report the BBC.

NBC News notes the event is known as "kissing hands,"; once the new PM is appointed, the Court Circular documents that "the prime minister kissed hands on appointment." The BBC clarifies that "this is usually a handshake, and the actual kissing of hands will take place later at the Privy Council." The queen has been served by 14 prime ministers during her reign, notes the AP. (More Queen Elizabeth II stories.)

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