In Pictures: Ceremonial pomp and pageantry at the State Opening of Parliament

The Queen’s Speech outlines the Government’s proposed policies and legislation for the coming parliamentary year.

In Pictures: Ceremonial pomp and pageantry at the State Opening of Parliament

Filled with pomp and ceremony, the Queen’s Speech took place at the formal start of the parliamentary year and set out the Government’s agenda for the coming session.

Flagpoles were erected in Parliament Square ahead of the traditional State Opening of Parliament
Flagpoles were erected in Parliament Square ahead of the traditional State Opening of Parliament (Aaron Chown/PA)
A parliamentary official walks past a cleaner in the Central Lobby
A parliamentary official walks past a cleaner in the Central Lobby (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

But this year’s State Opening was adapted, with reduced ceremonial elements and attendees to ensure it was Covid-secure.

A security officer keeps watch at the Palace of Westminster
A security officer keeps watch at the Palace of Westminster (Hannah McKay/PA)
House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg wears a mask in Central Lobby
House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg wears a mask in Central Lobby ahead of the Queen’s Speech (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Queen arrives at Sovereign’s Entrance and proceeds to the Robing Room. Wearing the Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State, she leads the Royal Procession through the Royal Gallery to the chamber of the House of Lords.

The Imperial State Crown leaves Buckingham Palace by car
The Imperial State Crown leaves Buckingham Palace by car (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Royal Procession was reduced this year to make it Covid-secure.

The Great Sword of State, and the Cap of Maintenance is taken from Buckingham Palace to Westminster
The Great Sword of State, and the Cap of Maintenance is taken from Buckingham Palace to Westminster (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (2nd left) walk through the Central Lobby
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (2nd left) walk through the Central Lobby (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Fewer peers were in attendance for this year's Queen's Speech
Fewer peers were in attendance for this year’s Queen’s Speech (Aaron Chown/PA)
The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace to deliver the speech
The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace to deliver the speech (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

When the Queen 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 Her Majesty’s Gracious Speech”. Each House continues the debate over the planned legislative programme for several days, looking at different subject areas. The Queen’s Speech is voted on by the Commons, but rarely in the Lords.

The Queen arrives for the State Opening of Parliament
The Queen arrives for the State Opening of Parliament (Hannah McKay/PA)
The Queen arrives with the Prince of Wales to deliver the speech
The Queen arrives with the Prince of Wales to deliver the speech (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall listen as the Queen delivers the speech
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall listen to the speech (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Queen outlines the Government’s legislative programme for the coming parliamentary session
The Queen outlines the Government’s legislative programme for the coming parliamentary session (Chris Jackson/PA)
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