The Queen is set to miss the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, for the first time in 40 years.
The Prince of Wales will go in her place in November, Buckingham Palace said last night.
The news comes amid controversy over the summit, with concerns having been raised by member governments over human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. But the decision by the Queen not to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) is not thought to be related, according to Sky News.
It is not known whether the Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth, has decided to miss the meeting on health grounds, after she was admitted to hospital earlier this year suffering from gastroenteritis, or if her decision is part of a move to transfer more responsibilities to Prince Charles.