Britain's Queen Elizabeth will not attend event in Scotland

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Queen Elizabeth officially opens the new building at Thames Hospice
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth, who has been suffering from mobility issues, will not attend the Braemar Highland Gathering in Scotland - the first time she has missed the event since she came to the throne 70 years ago.

A Buckingham Palace source said on Friday the decision was taken with the Queen's comfort in mind. Prince Charles, heir to the throne, will be attending as planned, the source said.

Queen Elizabeth, 96, has had to scale back her public appearances in recent months due to her health. She spent a night in hospital last October for an unspecified illness.

On Wednesday, a palace spokesperson said the queen would appoint Britain's new prime minister at her Balmoral Castle residence in Scotland rather than at Buckingham Palace in London, citing the mobility issues.

The Braemar Gathering is a celebration of traditional Scottish games, sports and dancing in Braemar, a village 60 miles west of Aberdeen, which neighbours the Queen's Balmoral summer residence.

The gathering has existed in its present form since 1832 and has been attended regularly by the reigning monarch and members of the royal family since Queen Victoria first attended in 1848, its organisers said. Prince Albert bought Balmoral for Victoria four years later.

It is one of the few occasions where the queen would usually be seen in public while she stays in Scotland during the summer months.

She is a patron of the gathering, whose events include the caber toss and the tug-of-war. Organisers say she has attended it every year since she came to the throne in 1952. It was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Reporting by William James and Michael Holden, writing by Muvija M and Alistair Smout)