The Queen is said to have “still felt the stability” of Prince Phillip at her side during the Queen’s speech on Tuesday, a royal expert said.
It was his first major engagement on the national scene since the death of her husband Prince Philip last month, but Sky News commentator on royal and national events Alastair Bruce said that after decades of the Duke’s presence by her side, she would still have felt his “encouragement.”
This year’s Queen’s Speech – which was part of the opening ceremony of Parliament in which the government outlines its priorities for the coming months – was a more restrained event, due to the precautions to be taken in the event of pandemic.
Follow the analysis of the Queen’s speech
Normally, the ceremony begins with a procession in which the Queen travels from Buckingham Palace to Westminster – usually by horse-drawn carriage.
It is one of the most colorful events of the parliamentary year and is steeped in traditions and customs dating back centuries.
Today, however, the Queen arrived in a Bentley limousine less people attended and all must have shown a negative COVID test and wear a face shield.
She also wore a lilac gray “day dress”, with a matching hat and coat instead of the usual formal dresses to be “COVID appropriate.”
But despite the restrictions, Mr Bruce said it was a “key moment” for the Queen as head of state and “nothing would have stopped her from doing it”.
He said before the speech: “The Duke of Edinburgh will not be by her side but she will have her son (Prince Charles) and her daughter-in-law (Camilla) with her.
âIt’s a very small event, but it offers this useful and one-off constitutional moment before the start of the new session.
âNothing would have stopped her from doing it.
âThe Queen has seen people all over the country doing their homework – whoever it is – and people are going through a lot of things losing people to COVID.
âFor the Queen, losing her husband was very sad, but he had lived a full life and had been by her side constantly so I think she will feel the consistency of his encouragement today.
He said Her Majesty would have received a copy of the speech last night and spent the evening rehearsing it.
The actual speech is presented to her the same day by the Lord Chancellor, who kneels before her on the steps of the throne.
She then reads it once the Members of the House of Commons have arrived in the House of Lords.
Prior to his arrival, two cars, one bearing the Imperial State Crown, and the other the State Sword and “Hood Keeper” arrived.
The bonnet is a kind of hat worn in a crown, made of velvet with an ermine brim and a golden tassel. It is a symbol of royal authority.
Lt. Col. Mike Vernon, Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office and Mark Appleby, who is the Crown Jeweler, accompanied them.
Only three people are allowed to touch the crown: the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the crown jeweler.
Prince Philip, the country’s oldest reigning husband who died at the age of 99 on April 9, has spent decades accompanying the monarch on the grand occasion, seated on an ornate golden throne alongside his wife.
Far fewer politicians and peers were in attendance on Tuesday compared to previous years and no diplomatic or non-parliamentary guests were invited, with just 108 people in attendance, including the Queen, instead of 600 as is the norm.
There were 74 people in the chamber, including the Monarch, Charles, Camilla, President Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer, representatives of the House of Lords and the House of Commons and those involved in the ceremonial procession.
There were also 17 members of the Lords and 17 deputies at the Royal Gallery.
The speech lasted eight minutes and 52 seconds – a little shorter than the speech given at the previous official opening of Parliament in December 2019, which lasted nine minutes and 14 seconds.