The Queen swaps her Imperial Crown for George IV diadem

The Queen did not wear her Imperial Crown during the State of Opening of Parliament today in a break with tradition on a day that presents a glorious display of British pomp and circumstance.

The monarch wore her full dress and regalia, including cloak – making it the first time she has worn the full outfit but not the crown. She instead wore the lighter George IV diadem, which dates back to 1821. 

The decision will spark speculation that the crown – weighing two and a half pounds  – is too heavy for the monarch to wear in her advancing years. Instead, the crown was carried in and placed on a table.

The Queen was accompanied by her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in the lavish Diamond Jubilee State Coach, with her husband Prince Philip having retired from public duties in August 2017. 

Colourful photographs showed the Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the House of Lords in Westminster today as armed police officers stood on duty on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.  

The Queen wears the George IV diadem as she sits next to the Imperial State Crown which is placed on a cushion today

The Queen wears the George IV diadem as she sits next to the Imperial State Crown which is placed on a cushion today

The Queen wears the George IV diadem as she sits next to the Imperial State Crown which is placed on a cushion today

The Imperial State Crown is carried up the royal staircase to be put in place for the State Opening of Parliament today

The Imperial State Crown is carried up the royal staircase to be put in place for the State Opening of Parliament today

The Imperial State Crown is carried up the royal staircase to be put in place for the State Opening of Parliament today

Queen Elizabeth II sits alongside Prince Charles before delivering the Queen's Speech at the House of Lords this morning

Queen Elizabeth II sits alongside Prince Charles before delivering the Queen's Speech at the House of Lords this morning

Queen Elizabeth II sits alongside Prince Charles before delivering the Queen’s Speech at the House of Lords this morning

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives to attend the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London today

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives to attend the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London today

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II arrives to attend the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London today

The Queen travels by carriage along The Mall ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

The Queen travels by carriage along The Mall ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

The Queen travels by carriage along The Mall ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Charles on the Sovereign's throne in the House of Lords ahead the Queen's Speech today

Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Charles on the Sovereign's throne in the House of Lords ahead the Queen's Speech today

Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Charles on the Sovereign’s throne in the House of Lords ahead the Queen’s Speech today

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walk through the Peers Lobby this morning

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walk through the Peers Lobby this morning

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walk through the Peers Lobby this morning

The Queen rides with her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on the Mall this morning

The Queen rides with her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on the Mall this morning

The Queen rides with her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on the Mall this morning

Queen Elizabeth II rides with Britain's Prince Charles in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on the Mall in London this morning

Queen Elizabeth II rides with Britain's Prince Charles in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on the Mall in London this morning

Queen Elizabeth II rides with Britain’s Prince Charles in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on the Mall in London this morning

The Imperial State Crown is carried in to the State Opening of Parliament to sit next to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

The Imperial State Crown is carried in to the State Opening of Parliament to sit next to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

The Imperial State Crown is carried in to the State Opening of Parliament to sit next to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach for the State Opening today

Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach for the State Opening today

Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach for the State Opening today

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the State Opening of Parliament, next to Prince Charles in Westminster today

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the State Opening of Parliament, next to Prince Charles in Westminster today

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the State Opening of Parliament, next to Prince Charles in Westminster today

Police help a guardsman who fainted before Queen Elizabeth II rode down the The Mall to the Palace of Westminster today

Police help a guardsman who fainted before Queen Elizabeth II rode down the The Mall to the Palace of Westminster today

Police help a guardsman who fainted before Queen Elizabeth II rode down the The Mall to the Palace of Westminster today

Soldiers from F Company Scots Guards were pictured marching to line the processional route on The Mall, while the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery proceeded past the palace, which had the Royal Standard flying.

The Queen’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force marched to line the route on Horse Guards Road and Horse Guards Parade Ground, as members of the public took their places behind railings near Canada Gate.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds and father Stanley Johnson were pictured sitting next to each other at the Lords, just as they did at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester a fortnight ago. 

It is not the first time the Queen has not worn her Imperial State Crown – in 2017 she did not wear it or her Robes of State to the same ceremony for the first time in more than 40 years. 

Gentlemen At Arms prepare for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London this morning

Gentlemen At Arms prepare for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London this morning

Gentlemen At Arms prepare for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London this morning

Queen Elizabeth II travels in a carriage to Parliament for the official State Opening in Westminster this morning

Queen Elizabeth II travels in a carriage to Parliament for the official State Opening in Westminster this morning

Queen Elizabeth II travels in a carriage to Parliament for the official State Opening in Westminster this morning

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach as she leaves Buckingham Palace in London today

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach as she leaves Buckingham Palace in London today

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II rides in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach as she leaves Buckingham Palace in London today

Queen Elizabeth II rides in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on the Mall in London this morning

Queen Elizabeth II rides in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach on the Mall in London this morning

The Queen wears the lighter George IV diadem, which dates back to 1821

The Queen wears the lighter George IV diadem, which dates back to 1821

The Queen wears the lighter George IV diadem, which dates back to 1821, in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach today

Yeomen of the Guard walk up the stairs for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament this morning

Yeomen of the Guard walk up the stairs for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament this morning

Yeomen of the Guard walk up the stairs for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament this morning

The Queen and Prince Charles are pictured on the day of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster today

The Queen and Prince Charles are pictured on the day of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster today

The Queen and Prince Charles are pictured on the day of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster today

Members of the House of Lords watch as Yeoman warders take part in the traditional Ceremonial Search ceremony today

Members of the House of Lords watch as Yeoman warders take part in the traditional Ceremonial Search ceremony today

Members of the House of Lords watch as Yeoman warders take part in the traditional Ceremonial Search ceremony today

Staff and members of the House of Lords wait ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Staff and members of the House of Lords wait ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Staff and members of the House of Lords wait ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II this morning

The Imperial State Crown is carried on a cushion at the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

The Imperial State Crown is carried on a cushion at the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

The Imperial State Crown is carried on a cushion at the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

Lady Usher of the Black Rod Sarah Clarke (right) prepares to take part in the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Lady Usher of the Black Rod Sarah Clarke (right) prepares to take part in the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Lady Usher of the Black Rod Sarah Clarke (right) prepares to take part in the State Opening of Parliament this morning

The scene in the House of Lords ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster today

The scene in the House of Lords ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster today

The scene in the House of Lords ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster today

Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds and father Stanley Johnson at the House of Lords in Westminster today

Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds and father Stanley Johnson at the House of Lords in Westminster today

Boris Johnson’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds and father Stanley Johnson at the House of Lords in Westminster today

The crown was carried into the Houses of Parliament today as a symbol of the Queen's authority, as it also was back in 2017

The crown was carried into the Houses of Parliament today as a symbol of the Queen's authority, as it also was back in 2017

The crown was carried into the Houses of Parliament today as a symbol of the Queen’s authority, as it also was back in 2017

Guests take their seats in the Palace of Westminster ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Guests take their seats in the Palace of Westminster ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Guests take their seats in the Palace of Westminster ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg watches on ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg watches on ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg watches on ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

She was in ‘day dress’ that day because it was a short speech because of the snap general election. 

The decision for today will spark speculation that the crown – weighing two and a half pounds and containing 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires and 17 emeralds – is too heavy for the monarch to wear in her advancing years.

Instead, the crown was carried into the Houses of Parliament as a symbol of the Queen’s authority, as it also was back in 2017.

Royal sources said the crown would be placed on a table alongside Her Majesty for the duration of the Queen’s speech.

Yeomen of the Guard pass through the Peer's Lobby for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament today

Yeomen of the Guard pass through the Peer's Lobby for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament today

Yeomen of the Guard pass through the Peer’s Lobby for the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament today

The state regalia, The Sword of State, Imperial State Crown and the Cap of Maintenance, are transferred in the Queen Alexandra's State Coach from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening of Parliament today

The state regalia, The Sword of State, Imperial State Crown and the Cap of Maintenance, are transferred in the Queen Alexandra's State Coach from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening of Parliament today

The state regalia, The Sword of State, Imperial State Crown and the Cap of Maintenance, are transferred in the Queen Alexandra’s State Coach from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening of Parliament today

Gentlemen at Arms climb the Norman Porch stairs to attend the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Gentlemen at Arms climb the Norman Porch stairs to attend the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Gentlemen at Arms climb the Norman Porch stairs to attend the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Military bands perform along The Mall ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Military bands perform along The Mall ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Military bands perform along The Mall ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Members of the House of Lords look at their mobile phones ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Members of the House of Lords look at their mobile phones ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Members of the House of Lords look at their mobile phones ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Baroness Mone today

Baroness Mone today

Baroness Mone is among the peers in the House of Lords to hear the monarch’s speech today amid high security

Britain's Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg laughs ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Britain's Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg laughs ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Britain’s Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg laughs ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Members of the Household Cavalry arrive for the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

Members of the Household Cavalry arrive for the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

Members of the Household Cavalry arrive for the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

The Band of the Coldstream Guards march past Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

The Band of the Coldstream Guards march past Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

The Band of the Coldstream Guards march past Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Carrie Symonds, the partner and of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, smiles in the Palace of Westminster this morning

Carrie Symonds, the partner and of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, smiles in the Palace of Westminster this morning

Carrie Symonds, the partner and of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, smiles in the Palace of Westminster this morning

Members of the House of Lords arrive to sit in their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in London this morning

Members of the House of Lords arrive to sit in their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in London this morning

Members of the House of Lords arrive to sit in their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in London this morning

Soldiers from F Company Scots Guards march to line the processional route on The Mall in London this morning

Soldiers from F Company Scots Guards march to line the processional route on The Mall in London this morning

Soldiers from F Company Scots Guards march to line the processional route on The Mall in London this morning

Members of the House of Lords take their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Members of the House of Lords take their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Members of the House of Lords take their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Members of the public near Canada Gate in London wait to watch Queen Elizabeth II leave Buckingham Palace today

Members of the public near Canada Gate in London wait to watch Queen Elizabeth II leave Buckingham Palace today

Members of the public near Canada Gate in London wait to watch Queen Elizabeth II leave Buckingham Palace today

Guests take their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London this morning

Guests take their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London this morning

Guests take their seats ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in the Houses of Parliament in London this morning

Instead of the crown, the Queen, 93, is expected to wear the lighter George IV diadem, a tiara that has been passed down from monarch to monarch since George IV’s coronation in 1821 and is worn only for official occasions.

It is worn only for official occasions, such as this State Opening of Parliament. It features four crosses alternating with bouquets representing different parts of the United Kingdom: roses, thistles and shamrocks.

It features 1,333 diamonds, though it was shrunk by Queen Alexandra in 1902, who removed 11 diamonds to fit her smaller head. The Queen Mother also had it resized. 

For the 2017 ‘dressed down’ State Opening of Parliament, the Queen wore a blue outfit and a delphinium blue hat with flowers bearing small yellow star-like centres – which prompted some observers to make humorous comparisons to the EU flag on social media. 

Members of the Yeoman Guard prepare ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

Members of the Yeoman Guard prepare ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

Members of the Yeoman Guard prepare ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster this morning

The Queen's Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force march to line the processional route on Horse Guards Road today

The Queen's Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force march to line the processional route on Horse Guards Road today

The Queen’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force march to line the processional route on Horse Guards Road today

The Yeomen of the Guard, which was formed by King Henry VII in 1485, prepare ahead of the State Opening today

The Yeomen of the Guard, which was formed by King Henry VII in 1485, prepare ahead of the State Opening today

The Yeomen of the Guard, which was formed by King Henry VII in 1485, prepare ahead of the State Opening today

Members of the Army march near the Queen Victoria Memorial ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in London today

Members of the Army march near the Queen Victoria Memorial ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in London today

Members of the Army march near the Queen Victoria Memorial ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in London today

Gentlemen at Arms pose for a photograph at the Norman Porch stairs ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Gentlemen at Arms pose for a photograph at the Norman Porch stairs ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Gentlemen at Arms pose for a photograph at the Norman Porch stairs ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Members of the Yeoman Guard prepare ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster today

Members of the Yeoman Guard prepare ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster today

Members of the Yeoman Guard prepare ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster today

Soldiers of the Scots Guards march on the Mall in London ahead of the Queen's ceremonial procession today

Soldiers of the Scots Guards march on the Mall in London ahead of the Queen's ceremonial procession today

Soldiers of the Scots Guards march on the Mall in London ahead of the Queen’s ceremonial procession today

Members of the Yeoman Guard walk into the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament ceremony today

Members of the Yeoman Guard walk into the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament ceremony today

Members of the Yeoman Guard walk into the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament ceremony today

Members of the Yeoman Guard line up ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Members of the Yeoman Guard line up ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Members of the Yeoman Guard line up ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Members of the Yeoman Guard line up ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Members of the Yeoman Guard line up ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Members of the Yeoman Guard line up ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery proceed past Buckingham Palace in London ahead of the State Opening this morning

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery proceed past Buckingham Palace in London ahead of the State Opening this morning

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery proceed past Buckingham Palace in London ahead of the State Opening this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II today

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II today

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II today

A search dog patrols the Royal Gallery ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

A search dog patrols the Royal Gallery ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

A search dog patrols the Royal Gallery ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster today

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Lords today

Yeomen of the Guard ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Lords today

Yeomen of the Guard ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Lords today

That year was the first time since 1974 that the State Opening of Parliament was a less formal affair, with the only other occasion following Labour leader Harold Wilson defeating Edward Heath in a snap election.

How the 2,868-diamond Imperial Crown compares to the George IV diadem 

The Imperial Crown weights two and a half pounds and containing 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires and 17 emeralds.

The piece was lightened and ‘feminised’ when she took the throne, but there are now fears it is too heavy for the monarch to wear in her advancing years.

Meanwhile the lighter George IV diadem, a tiara that has been passed down from monarch to monarch since George IV’s coronation in 1821 and is worn only for official occasions.

It is worn only for official occasions, such as the State Opening. It features four crosses alternating with bouquets representing different parts of the United Kingdom: roses, thistles and shamrocks.

It features 1,333 diamonds, though it was shrunk by Queen Alexandra in 1902, who removed 11 diamonds to fit her smaller head. The Queen Mother also had it resized.

Usually the monarch would arrives in a horse-drawn carriage but in 2017 the Queen arrived in a car. However, today – apart from not wearing the crown – the other traditions are expected to be observed with full pomp. 

Filled with pomp and ceremony, the State Opening of Parliament marks the start of the parliamentary year, while the Queen’s Speech sets out the Government’s agenda and outlines its proposed policies.

The event is the only regular time when the three parts which make up Parliament, the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, come together.

The ceremony has existed in its current form since 1852, when the Palace of Westminster was rebuilt after the 1834 fire. 

The ceremonial event will begin with the Queen’s procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster, during which she will be escorted by the army’s Household Cavalry.

The 93-year-old monarch will enter Westminster through the Sovereign’s entrance, located at the base of Victoria Tower, and move to robing room.

While wearing the Robe of State, she will lead the procession through the Royal Gallery to the House of Lords. It is here that one of the more unusual traditions begins.

Black Rod, the House of Lords official, will summon the House of Commons to the Lords, but during this process the doors to the Commons chamber will be shut in her face.

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery proceed past Buckingham Palace in London today ahead of the State Opening

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery proceed past Buckingham Palace in London today ahead of the State Opening

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery proceed past Buckingham Palace in London today ahead of the State Opening

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Lord David Steel attends the State Opening of Parliament ceremony in London this morning

Lord David Steel attends the State Opening of Parliament ceremony in London this morning

Lord David Steel attends the State Opening of Parliament ceremony in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Signage is seen ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London today

Signage is seen ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London today

Signage is seen ahead of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London today

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Yeomen of the Guard during the ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in London this morning

Police on duty on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Police on duty on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Police on duty on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament this morning

Keeping the forecourt of Buckingham Palace clean and dry with grit ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Keeping the forecourt of Buckingham Palace clean and dry with grit ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Keeping the forecourt of Buckingham Palace clean and dry with grit ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Police on the roof of Buckingham Palace, with The Royal Standard flying, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Police on the roof of Buckingham Palace, with The Royal Standard flying, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Police on the roof of Buckingham Palace, with The Royal Standard flying, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Members of the public getting in place near Canada Gate in London to watch the Queen leave Buckingham Palace today

Members of the public getting in place near Canada Gate in London to watch the Queen leave Buckingham Palace today

Members of the public getting in place near Canada Gate in London to watch the Queen leave Buckingham Palace today

Keeping the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London clean and dry ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Keeping the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London clean and dry ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Keeping the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London clean and dry ahead of the State Opening of Parliament today

Mounted police on patrol down The Mall, heading towards Buckingham Palace in London this morning

Mounted police on patrol down The Mall, heading towards Buckingham Palace in London this morning

Mounted police on patrol down The Mall, heading towards Buckingham Palace in London this morning

Members of the public get in place and take a selfie near Canada Gate in London this morning

Members of the public get in place and take a selfie near Canada Gate in London this morning

Members of the public get in place and take a selfie near Canada Gate in London this morning

The Order of ceremony sheet is seen on a seat ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords today

The Order of ceremony sheet is seen on a seat ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords today

The Order of ceremony sheet is seen on a seat ahead of the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords today

It is a practice that dates back to the Civil War and is said to symbolise the Commons’ independence from the monarchy. Black Rod will have to strike 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 to listen to the speech.

While sitting on the throne in the House of Lords, the Queen will read the Queen’s Speech, which is written by the Government.

Once the Queen leaves, Parliament will go back to work, with each house meeting separately to begin debating the content of the speech.   

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