Queen Elizabeth II will receive Britain’s next prime minister at Balmoral instead of Buckingham Palace – a historic first for her 70-year reign.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the 96-year-old monarch would not make the 1,000-mile round trip from Scotland and instead outgoing leader Boris Johnson would travel north from London on 6 September, followed by an audience with his successor.

A royal source told CNN that the decision was made for an audience at Balmoral to provide certainty for the prime minister’s diary.

The source added that if the monarch was facing an episodic mobility problem next week and plans to travel to London or Windsor, it would mean making alternate arrangements at the last minute.

Johnson was left with little choice but to step down as leader of the Conservative Party in early July after months of scandals that rocked his government and led to dozens of ministerial resignations. His announcement triggered a leadership contest, narrowing a broad field of contenders to two: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The pair have spent the summer trying to find favor with the party’s 160,000 rank-and-file members. The result of that vote will be announced on Monday.

As the leader of the largest party in parliament, the winner will be invited by the Queen to form the next government and become her 15th prime minister.

The appointment of a new prime minister is one of the Queen’s main ceremonial responsibilities as head of state – the state opening of parliament and the signing of parliamentary bills into law, among others. In May, Princes Charles and William took the main stage at the grand set-piece event, with the heir to the throne reading out the government’s legislative agenda for the year ahead on his mother’s behalf.

It was the first time the Queen had missed the event in 59 years. The palace cited the emperor’s “episodic mobility problems” but declined to provide further details, citing patient privacy. These ongoing issues have disrupted other occasions, including his Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, for nearly a year since a brief hospital stay last October.

Next week’s ceremony will be the first time a prime minister has officially tendered his resignation or been appointed outside Buckingham Palace during the Queen’s seven decades.

Several events over the past 12 months have been modified for the Queen’s “comfort”, one of the most recent examples being her arrival at Balmoral Castle earlier this month. The moment is traditionally marked by an honor guard at the entrance to the 50,000-acre estate, but this year the soldiers were inspected in private.

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