Queen dials back on travel and duties as Prince Charles and Camilla move to the fore

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II delivers her speech at the State Opening of Parliament on May 8, 2013 in London.
Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images

(CBS News) In London, a city steeped in tradition, the British put on a show Wednesday for the state opening of Parliament. The event is a lavish affair. But everything is not what it seems.

In fact, it's the opposite of what it seems. The queen is the center of attention, reading what's called The Queen's Speech. But, in fact, the queen hasn't written a single word. It's the government's speech.

This time though, there was royal significance to this bit of political theater. Along with the queen and Prince Philip, were Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. The queen has announced that -- at 87 years old -- she'll be cutting down on some duties, especially long-haul foreign travel. It's understandable, says columnist Quentin Letts.

"It's almost unthinkable that the queen would miss this because this is a very symbolic occasion when the crown and parliament, their relationship, is established," Letts said. "But maybe on the foreign travel front, the queen, has maybe, she's got enough air miles."

Prince Charles is still in one of the longest job-training programs in history -- a program that started in 1952, when he was 4 years old. Now in his mid sixties, he will take on more of his mother's duties. His presence at the ceremony Wednesday was seen as a way of getting people used to the idea of having him --- and his wife -- around. Royal watcher Ingrid Seward says the once-unmentionable mistress, Camilla, is now a queen in waiting.

Seward said, "When she first married Charles, the British public and certainly the Americans really didn't like her because there were so many shadows of (Princess) Diana around. But gradually, gradually she's been honed into being this rather charming, quite homely and very supportive double act with Prince Charles."

There are two words you won't hear around the palace: abdication and retirement, as correspondent Mark Phillips reported on "CBS This Morning." This queen sees her duty as staying in office until the end -- even if the end involves doing a little bit less and traveling less far to do it.

Watch Mark Phillips' full report above.