William and Kate lead the Royal Family and represent the Queen at a prestigious sporting event

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Prince William and Kate Middleton replaced Queen Elizabeth II as the main members of the royal family taking part in the prestigious races at Royal Ascot on Friday.

The Cambridges led the traditional carriage procession along Ascot Racecourse, a position which until the COVID-19 pandemic had been taken by the Queen, who is an avid horsewoman.

William and Kate’s top spot on day four of the race event comes as the 96-year-old Queen cut back on her number of public appearances after a series of health issues last fall, and what Buckingham Palace has officially called “episodic mobility problems”. “

The Queen recently celebrated a weekend of events marking her Platinum Jubilee, however her health meant she missed all but two public appearances, the Opening and Closing Balcony Gatherings at Buckingham Palace.

Kate Middleton and Prince William replaced the Queen by leading the traditional carriage procession at Royal Ascot. June 17, 2022.
Samir Hussein/WireImage

After the first of those appearances, following Trooping the Colour, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen was experiencing “some discomfort” and would not be attending the National Service of Thanksgiving the following day.

It was the only jubilee event where the public could see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle take part since moving to the United States in 2020.

While the Queen has radically changed her working pattern since the onset of the COVID pandemic, which has seen her move full-time from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle and undertake a hybrid schedule of in-person hearings and video conferencing , other members of the royal family have seen their workload increase.

The two couples who have shouldered most of the monarch’s burden are his direct heirs, Prince Charles with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and William with Kate.

In May, the Queen was unable to carry out one of her main constitutional duties by opening the British parliament. In his place, the monarch arranged for Charles and William to attend, acting in their capacity as Councilors of State.

This title is given to a group of four of the oldest members of the royal family in line with the throne who are over the age of 21 and who can serve as king or queen if incapacitated.

Queen Elizabeth II Royal Ascot 2021
Queen Elizabeth II is an avid horsewoman and Royal Ascot is a highlight of the royal year. June 19, 2021.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

For the official opening of Parliament, Charles assumed the most prominent role by reading the Queen’s Speech for her before members of the House of Lords and House of Commons.

Royal Ascot is a significant event on the royal calendar and spans five days with members of the royal family present on each, watching from a specially designated royal box.

The racecourse was founded over 300 years ago by Queen Anne and the Royal Ascot event as we see it today began in 1911.

In her 70-year reign, the Queen has attended at least one of Royal Ascot’s race days outside of 2020, where the event did not admit spectators in line with UK government restrictions on public gatherings during the COVID pandemic.

Just a day away from the 2022 event, the Queen has yet to make an appearance, instead she would have watched from the comfort of her residence at Windsor Castle.

The first two days of this year’s event were chaired by Charles and Camilla who were accompanied by younger royal brother Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

Prince Charles Camilla Duchess of Cornwall Ascot
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall lead the royal motorcade in a carriage on the opening days of Royal Ascot on June 15, 2022.
Samir Hussein/WireImage

On the third day, the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, led the carriage procession which also included Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto (née Armstrong Jones).

William and Kate’s presidency on day four marks one of the most high-profile royal events in which the couple replaced the monarch. This follows Cambridge’s intervention to hold one of the annual royal garden parties at Buckingham Palace in May.

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