The State Opening of Parliament 2023
The King, accompanied by Her Majesty The Queen, has opened Parliament for the first time since his Accession in a ceremony steeped in tradition and symbolism.
Though His Majesty has opened Parliament before on behalf of the late Queen Elizabeth II, this was his first as Monarch.
The King wore his Admiral of the Fleet uniform for the ceremony, whilst the Queen was in her Coronation dress, designed by Bruce Oldfield.
As Colonel of The Blues and Royals, The Princess Royal was in attendance as Gold Stick in Waiting.
The State Opening of Parliament happens on the first day of a new parliamentary session and marks the formal start of the parliamentary year, bringing together the three constituent elements of Parliament: the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
The King's speech sets out the government's agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.
What happens at State Opening?
- The Imperial State Crown is processed to Westminster.
- The King and Queen process to Westminster in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, escorted by the Household Cavalry.
- His Majesty retires to the Robing Room, emerging shortly afterwards wearing the Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State
- The King leads the Royal Procession through the Royal Gallery to the chamber of the House of Lords.
- The House of Lords official known as Black Rod is sent to summon the Commons. The doors to the Commons chamber are shut in her face: a practice dating back to the Civil War, symbolising the Commons' independence from the monarchy. Black Rod strikes the door three times before it is opened.
- Members of the House of Commons then follow Black Rod and the Commons Speaker to the Lords chamber, standing at the opposite end to the Throne to listen to the speech.
- The King delivers his speech from the Throne in the House of Lords. Although His Majesty reads the speech, it is written by the government, containing an outline of its policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
- When the Monarch leaves, a new parliamentary session starts and Parliament gets back to work. Members of both Houses debate the content of the speech and agree an ‘Address in Reply to His Majesty's Gracious Speech'.
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