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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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