The Queen will miss this year’s Commonwealth Games taking place in October this year– for the first time in over 40 years.
Buckingham Palace sources say it is all down to a heavy workload and tight schedules.
Prince Charles will perform all official duties representing the Royal Family in the unity game taking place in India.
As usual, messages of support from the Monarch to the athletes, drawn from all Commonwealth member countries will be read out while the game will be declared open with the queen’s spiritual blessing.
It is thought to be the first time since 1966 – the year of England’s only foot
-balling World Cup triumph – that the Queen will not be attending any part of the event.
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Queen is having a full schedule of appointments during the autumn and the list of scheduled programmes has left out the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this October.
The source added: ‘It is correct to say that the Queen will not be attending the Commonwealth Games this year.
The sheer volume of engagements this autumn, coupled with other overseas visits, means she would not be able to attend.’
The British High Commission in Delhi insisted it was ‘delighted’ that Prince Charles would represent Her Majesty at the opening ceremony on October 3.
The Queen has always been delighted to declare open the game which she has always described as a unifying sporting event.
Queen Elizabeth (11) described last event as a ‘great sporting celebration’ during her speech to open the previous Games in Melbourne in 2006.
She said: ‘The Commonwealth Games are both a product of our unique organisation as well as a tangible example of the value of this partnership of peoples.’
*Meanwhile, the England team’s anthem for this year’s event is set to change after a national poll found Jerusalem was now the most popular choice.
Athletes have stood to attention for the stirring Land Of Hope And Glory for the past 40 years since it replaced God Save The Queen.
But Jerusalem, taken from a William Blake poem, attracted 53 per cent of the vote in a
YouGov survey and has enthusiastic backing from competitors.
England’s world 1500m silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey said: ‘It is a very powerful piece of music that is capable of evoking deep feelings of pride and patriotism. We hope it will be associated with the sound of success this summer.’
Land Of Hope And Glory garnered 35 per cent of votes while God Save The Queen was preferred by just 12 per cent of those taking part.
However, the traditional God Save The Queen will be played before each of England’s matches at next month’s football World Cup in South Africa.