LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May will begin a three-week European holiday on Monday, with a short interruption to attend an official engagement part way through, her spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said May and her husband would spend five days in northern Italy, then return to Britain and join members of the royal family to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the World War One Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium on July 31.
May, a fan of hill walking, will return again to Britain before resuming her holiday, spending two weeks in the Swiss Alps. She will travel via commercial airline.
"The prime minister is still in charge and will be constantly updated from Downing Street," the spokeswoman said, referring to May's office.
During her last break, a walking holiday in Wales in April, May made the ill-fated decision to call a snap national election. The gamble resulted in her losing her parliamentary majority and weakened her authority.
Asked in a radio interview on Wednesday what people should expect when she returned from this holiday, May joked: "You'll just have to wait and see ... But I think there are many people who are grateful I'm going to the Alps and not to Wales again."
May has vowed to stay on as prime minister, and senior members of her Conservative Party say there is no appetite for a leadership contest or a fresh election.
But that has not stopped reports of infighting among ministers as potential successors vie for her job.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by David Milliken