Prince Charles turned 70 and royal watchers were surprised by the absence of Queen Elizabeth in her son’s official birthday family photos
The heir to the throne appeared alongside his closest family members in a series of candid pictures taken at his residence back in September, with the notorious exception of his parents.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, their three children, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, posed with Charles in images released by Clarence House.
The photos, captured by Chris Jackson, raised the question of why neither 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth nor 97-year-old Prince Philip was there. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa
There was a very simple reason for this. Former royal correspondent Duncan Larcombe discussed their absence with Harper's Bazaar:
"The main reason is that it's Prince Charles' birthday portrait, so he should be the most senior member of the royal family to appear in it. There's also more evidence than ever that there's a conscious effort to start pushing Charles to the front as he takes on a more prominent role."
Queen Elizabeth has become the longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch in British history, but has been delegating her functions since turning 90.
Therefore, the significance behind her missing from Charles’ birthday photos may be that she is stepping back to make the public become more used to a new aspect of the British Monarchy.
While the absence of the Queen is what caught most of the attention, the presence of 7-month-old Prince Louis, the youngest grandson of Charles until Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s baby is born, is remarkable.
Louis’ appearance in the photoshoot, in the arms of his mother, Duchess Kate, marks only the fourth time the baby has been seen in public, according to Marie Claire.
The Queen might have missed the official birthday photo session, but she was there for the celebration. In fact, the monarch hosted a party for her eldest son at Buckingham Palace.
Many members of the British Royal Family and a number of family friends were invited to the event, as well as some European royals.
Queen Mathilde of Belgium attended, along with Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, and Prince Albert of Monaco.
"It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday. It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up,” the Queen said in a speech dedicated to her son.
“It is rather like — to use an analogy I am certain will find favor — planting a tree and being able to watch it grow," she added.
While the members of royalty are ruled by emotions and desires like any of us, they have to observe strict customs and study every move they make, even in their personal lives.
The 70-year-old marriage of Queen Elizabeth to the Duke of Edinburgh and the sacrifices both had to make to achieve it, and all the details that surround their relationship is an example of how complex the Royal Family dynamics are.