The Daily Telegraph
All roads lead to Balmoral for changing of the political guard
IN MANY ways, it was business as usual for the Queen, who welcomed the 15th Prime Minister of her 70-year reign.
However, in other respects, her audience with Liz Truss yesterday was a sign of change as, for the first time, the Queen, 96, formally ushered in a new political era from Balmoral rather than Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
The decision was made for both Boris Johnson and his successor to travel from London to Scotland because of the Queen’s health issues.
However, Her Majesty appeared in good spirits as she shook hands with Ms Truss in front of a log fire. Mr Johnson had earlier arrived at Balmoral after delivering his resignation speech outside Downing Street, witnessed by his staff and the party faithful. Then, after a quick flurry of handshakes, he jumped into a Range Rover to head straight for RAF Northolt and the 1,000-mile round trip to see the Queen.
Mr Johnson, travelling with his wife Carrie, formally told the Queen of his intention to resign before she accepted. The couple left shortly before midday, to be driven back to Aberdeen airport.
Meanwhile, Ms Truss landed in Aberdeen shortly after 11am. As her motorcade made its way to Balmoral, Buckingham Palace released a statement confirming Mr Johnson had tendered his resignation, which the Queen was “graciously pleased to accept”.
Ms Truss was accompanied by her husband, Hugh O’leary, and was greeted by the same dignitaries as her predecessor. She was briefed by the Lord Chamberlain before being invited into the Queen’s Drawing Room.
For Ms Truss, the audience marked the start of a critical relationship. The pair will meet each week to discuss the affairs of state and successive prime ministers have spoken of how much they valued the tradition.
Edward Heath described it as an occasion that he looked forward to. “It was always a relief to be able to discuss everything with someone, knowing full well that there was not the slightest danger of any information leaking,” he said. “I could confide in Her Majesty.”
Buckingham Palace confirmed at 1pm that the Queen had received Ms Truss and asked her to form a new administration. Minutes later, Ms Truss was waved off by aides as she headed back to London to get on with the job.
The Balmoral Drawing Room has been photographed only on rare occasions, including the Queen’s audience with Sir Peter Cosgrove, the Governor General of Australia, in 2017.
Then, an ipod docking station could be seen on a table, as well as a stash of well-thumbed magazines.