Queen Elizabeth II to skip CHOGM in Colombo

Queen Elizabeth II to skip CHOGM in Colombo

Queen Elizabeth II to skip CHOGM in Colombo

For the first time in 40 years, Queen Elizabeth II will skip the Commonwealth summit to be held in Sri Lanka in November, deciding to send her son Prince Charles instead.

87-year-old Queen will miss the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) for the first time since 1973, Buckingham Palace announced today.

"I can confirm that the Queen will be represented by the Prince of Wales. The reason is that we are reviewing the amount of long-haul travel that is taken by the Queen. As a result of that, she won't be travelling to the Commonwealth heads of government meeting later this year", a spokesman said.

The Queen first attended the meeting in Ottawa, Canada in 1973, after missing the first CHOGM in 1971, and has been at every summit since.

The decision to send Charles instead of the Queen may also be seen as the prince's commitment to ease the burden on her elderly mother.

The Queen, still carries out in excess of 400 engagements a year. Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be 92 in June.

The decision not to travel to Sri Lanka is not one which will have been taken lightly and it is likely to cause concern about the state of the Queen's health.

Every two years, leaders in the grouping meet to discuss global and Commonwealth issues and to agree on collective policies and initiatives.

The CHOGM this year takes place in Sri Lankan capital Colombo from November 15-17.

Her commitment to the Commonwealth has been an enduring part of her reign, which spans more than 60 years.

The Queen sees the Commonwealth as a "family" and takes pride in its work as a force for good in the world.

Although she is its symbolic head, she has no formal powers over the 54 countries and 2 billion citizens that make up the voluntary association.

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