Royal Correspondent explains why the Queen is missing in Prince Charles' 70th birthday portrait

Prince Charles turned 70 on November 14, and while royal watchers were surprised by the absence of Queen Elizabeth in her son’s official birthday family photos, there is a very simple reason for this.

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, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, accompanied Charles in the 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 were there. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa 

Luckily for those who can’t get over their curiosity over this detail, former royal corespondent Duncan Larcombe, talked to Harper’s Bazaar and shared his thoughts about this citing etiquette and PR strategies as possible motives.

"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."

-Duncan Larcombe, Harper’s Bazaar, November 14, 2018.

A NEW ERA

Queen Elizabeth has become the longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch in British history, but since she turned 90 she has been delegating some of her functions to the younger generations of royals.

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.

A BIG CELEBRATION

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 such as Queen Mathilde of Belgium, 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.

NOT A COMMON FAMILY

While the members of the royalty are humans of flesh and blood just like any of us, and they are ruled by emotions and desires, they have to observe many strict customs and study every move they make, even for 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.

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