Queen health update as she’s pictured for first time since missing State Opening

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The Queen has been pictured with a huge smile on her face, just three days after being forced to pull out of the State Opening of Parliament.

The 96-year-old monarch was forced to pull out of Tuesday's (May 10) event due to mobility issues.

It was the first time in 59 years that she wasn't able to give the Queen's speech, with Charles addressing Parliament in her place in the same year that the Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee.

Instead, the Queen watched on from Windsor while the Sovereign's Throne in the House of Lords was left symbolically empty.

And earlier today she was pictured being driven around the second day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle, smiling while in conversation with someone out of the car window.

It was originally thought she would not be attending those, which she has not missed for 79 years, but now appears to have changed her mind despite Princess Beatrice stepping in for her during a dress rehearsal for big Sunday night closing event yesterday.

The new images come 24 hours after it emerged that she actually made a secret trip to the event yesterday to see her own horses.

Several reports claim that she wanted to see the horses before they were entered into the Best of Show competition at the Royal Mews on Sunday.

Despite missing the grandeur of the State Opening of Parliament this week, royal sources claimed that she was still "very much" in charge of the Royal Family.

She was replaced for the day by her son Prince Charles, and grandson Prince William.

One source told The Sun: "The Queen was very proud to see her son and grandson step in."

A friend of Charles said: "This is his mum and so of course he always wants her to do these events such as State Opening of Parliament.

"He would rather step up than her being made to do things that are difficult for her."

And it was also claimed that she was making a "slow-motion abdication", meaning that we can expect to see much more of Prince Charles, a royal expert claimed.

Royal expert Ed Owens, author of The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-1953, now says that the Royal Family is facing "difficult questions as to what comes next".

Writing in the Guardian, Owens described Tuesday's last minute switch as "the clearest sign yet that the Elizabeth II era is drawing to a close".

"This moment was always going to come," he wrote.

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