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Queen Elizabeth II State Opening of Parliament 2019

Queen Elizabeth II read her speech during the opening of Parliament. Photo: Press Association

Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall opened a new session of Parliament on October 14th. It is the sixty-fifth time Her Majesty has opened Parliament.

A little history for State Openings of Parliament. They typically occur once a year (though there have been times this is not the case) and it honor several elements of British culture and tradition. It begins with the searching of the cellars, this is largely ceremonial, but the cellars are searched by the Yeoman of the Guard (basically the Queens Bodyguards) in order to prevent a modern day gunpowder plot. Next, the Peers (from the House of Lords) and Commons (from the house of Commons) assemble in their chambers before the delivery of the parliamentary hostage.

The hostage (like the searching of the cellars) is largely ceremonial but is still observed in order to ensure the safe return of the monarch. Following the parliamentary hostage, the Royal regalia is transported to the Palace of Westminster in the state coach. Both the imperial state crown and the sword of state are escorted by the bargemaster to the comptroller of the lord Chamberlain's office.

The Queen with the Imperial State Crown during a documentary. Photo: The Royal Family

The sovereign then arrives (usually accompanied by their consort, though Prince Charles has accompanied the Queen since Prince Phillip retired from public duty in 2017) and Parliament assembles. The Monarch gives a speech, seated from the throne, that is approved by her Majesty's government that details the government's agenda for the year. Following this, the Queen departs and the government debates the speech thus beginning a new session of parliament.

The Queen during her first state opening of Parliament in 1952. She was accompanied by her Consort, Prince Phillip Duke of Edinburgh. Photo: Ian Pelham-Turner

The Queen has presided over nearly every state opening of parliament since her ascension in 1952 (she missed while pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward). The Monarch plays a vital role in the United Kingdom's government since she acts as an unbiased head of state for her people.

Since Her Majesty has returned from her annual summer holiday in Scotland, it is likely we will see her more often in the coming weeks. xx

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