Queen avoids full dresses at COVID reduction ceremony as parliament opens


fWatch: Queen arrives at the official opening of Parliament

The Queen wore a day dress and hat instead of her formal dresses as she led a scaled-down version of the opening of parliament in her first major royal duty since her husband’s death.

The 2021 opening was affected by coronavirus restrictions as MPs and members of the House of Lords gathered in Westminster to start a new parliamentary session.

The Queen, 95, usually wore special dresses and in years past wore the Imperial State Crown when she read the speech outlining what her government would do in the coming months.

However, on Tuesday, she opted for a pale lilac coat with yellow floral embroidery around the collar and a matching lilac hat – a simple day dress as she wore in December 2019 when she last attended a official opening.

The Queen sat alone without the groom’s throne during the official opening on Tuesday. (AFP)

London, UK - November 13: Queen Elizabeth Ll sits on a throne in the House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, waiting to deliver her speech at the opening of Parliament.  The queen is cream satin evening dress under the ermine lined state dress with the imperial crown and the garter collar with a George diamond.  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The queen in the ermine-lined state dress and the imperial state crown and garter collar – traditional in the past, but not the last two state openings. (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Read more: The Queen leaves Windsor for the first time since Prince Philip’s death to open Parliament

The crown was placed on a nearby cushion, as was the case with several state openings. She last wore the two-pound, 13-ounce crown at the 2016 opening.

What was different when opening 2021?

Reduced attendance

Instead of the usual 600 or so attendees, there were only 108 people, including the Queen, at the opening.

This also included Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer, representatives from the House of Lords and the House of Commons and those involved in the ceremony. procession.

Members of the House of Lords wearing face masks, are socially left behind as they await the arrival of British Queen Elizabeth II during the official opening of Parliament to the Houses of Parliament in London on May 11, 2021, which takes place with a reduced capacity due to Covid-19 restrictions.  - The  Parliament's official opening is the place where Queen Elizabeth II performs her ceremonial duty of  inform Parliament of the  government agenda for the  coming year in a queen's speech.  (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the House of Lords wearing masks before the opening of parliament. (AFP)

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales walk through the Royal Gallery on their way to the Lord's Chamber to attend the official opening of Parliament on December 19, 2019 in London, England.  In the Queen's second speech in two months, Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the majority Conservative government's legislative agenda to MPs and peers in the House of Lords.  (Photo by Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

The Queen and Charles walk through the crowded Royal Gallery as parliament opens in 2019 (Getty Images)

There were 17 deputies and 17 members of the House of Lords.

No diplomatic or non-parliamentary guests were invited and all guests were required to wear masks.

Those who were able to attend had to present a negative COVID test before they could have a confirmed seat.

They were selected by ballot.

No horse-drawn carriage procession

The Queen usually arrived with great pomp and ceremony, in a horse-drawn carriage, traveling from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster.

But on Tuesday, she traveled in a Rolls Royce instead.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the official opening of Parliament to the House of Lords on May 11, 2021 in London, England.  (Photo by Samir Hussein / WireImage)

The Queen drove to the official opening of parliament, a change from the traditional car. (WireImage)

British Queen Elizabeth II travels in a horse-drawn national coach to the Houses of Parliament to deliver the Queen's Speech at the Official Opening of Parliament on October 14, 2019 in London, England.  (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Queen in a horse-drawn state coach to the Houses of Parliament to deliver the Queen’s Speech at the October 2019 opening. (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

There were no military street coverings or Sovereign’s Staircase lining and no military bands or honor guards outside Westminster Palace or as part of the procession from Buckingham Palace.

And there were no heralds present, only two men and gentlemen-at-arms, one bishop representing the group of 26, and only the Lord Chief Justice and the Chief of the Supreme Court representing the judges.

A queen alone

Unlike in previous years, there was only one throne for the Queen’s Speech.

Usually, the groom’s throne sits next to the Queen and was the seat of Prince Philip for decades during the state event.

Masked Yeoman Guardians march past the Royal Gallery to participate in the traditional

Masked Yeoman guards march past the Royal Gallery to participate in the traditional ceremonial search during the opening of parliament. (AFP)

Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain sits with Prince Philip as she delivers her speech in the House of Lords during the official opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London on June 4, 2014. REUTERS / Carl Court / Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT POLICY COMPANY)

The Queen and Philip at the opening of parliament in 2014 – when she had him next to her as her husband. (Reuters)

In recent years, Prince Charles has sat on it.

But after Prince Philip’s death, the Queen’s throne was the only one, with Charles and his wife Camilla sitting in different seats on one side.

No speech transfer

Usually the Queen’s Speech would be given directly to Her Majesty, forwarded to her by the Lord Chancellor, who is currently Robert Buckland.

However, to avoid contact this year, the Queen’s speech was left to her before her arrival.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Queen Elizabeth II before the Queen's speech in the Lord's Chamber during the official opening of Parliament in the House of Lords on May 11, 2021 in London, England.  (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

The Queen in a lilac and yellow outfit during the Queen’s Speech. (WPA Pool / Getty Images)

It was the 67th opening of parliament the Queen has attended during her 69-year reign.

She only missed two – when she was pregnant with her youngest sons, first Prince Andrew and then Prince Edward.

Look: Who is the queen?


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