The Queen has delivered her second Queen’s Speech in as many months – but this time the pomp and pageantry were replaced with a more low-key event.
The State Opening of Parliament normally forms the most colourful event of the parliamentary year and is steeped in tradition and customs dating back centuries.
The monarch plays a central role in the event, outlining the legislation of her Government in a speech to the House of Commons and House of Lords.
In October the public were treated to the spectacle of the Queen travelling to Westminster in a horse-drawn state coach escorted by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, with street liners guarding the route and presenting arms as the monarch passed.
But a more administrative event was staged following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s General Election victory with the head of state travelling by limousine and wearing a day dress and hat rather than the Imperial state crown and ceremonial robes.
Spectators in the Mall watched as the Regalia – the Imperial state crown, the Cap of Maintenance and Great Sword of State – travelled in vehicles.
The arrangements were reminiscent of the 2017 state opening of parliament when the Queen dispensed with the ceremonial trappings of state.
It was held four days after the Trooping the Colour ceremony and, as it was not feasible for the military and Royal Mews to stage two major events in such a short period, was scaled down.
Downing Street said about the formal opening of parliament: “The State Opening of Parliament will take place with reduced ceremonial elements, as was the case following the early general election in 2017.
“This is due both to the early general election and the proximity of the State Opening to Christmas.”
As in previous years the Queen was accompanied by the Prince of Wales as the Duke of Edinburgh has retired from official public duties.
Some ceremonial elements of the day were preserved with the Queen’s Guard turning out as she left Buckingham Palace, and troopers from the Household Cavalry Division, in their breastplates and plumed helmets, lined steps in the Palace of Westminster.
Although the Queen reads the speech, the content is entirely drawn up by the Government and approved by the cabinet.
Towards the end of her address she said “other measures will be laid before you”, giving the Government flexibility to introduce other legislation as necessary.
In the afternoon, Parliament resumed work, with each house meeting separately to begin debating the content of the speech.