Yesterday was the State Opening of Parliament. Accompanied by Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth traveled to the Palace of Westminster to open a new session of parliament – where she gave her/the government’s speech outlining the legislation. Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall also attended, as did Princess Anne.
Here is a video of the Queen’s speech, written by the government, which contains an outline of the policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session:
I may feel differently if I were British, but as an outsider I must say I love the pomp and ceremony of the British. The Black Rod business – where the door to the House of Commons gets slammed in his face as a reminder of the right of the Commons to exclude everyone including the Sovereign’s messengers – fascinates me.
Here is a video of the Black Rod talking about the meaning behind having the doors slammed in his face:
I also love the history of things like the Imperial State Crown (which totally got it’s own carriage on the ride over to the Palace of Westminster). The Imperial State Crown was originally made for Queen Victoria‘s coronation in 1838, and incorporates gemstones including the diamond known as the Second Star of Africa, the Black Prince’s Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire, St Edward’s Sapphire and Queen Elizabeth’s Pearls.
A sapphire that once belonged to Edward the Confessor is pretty damn cool.
The Queen wore a white evening dress by Hardy Aimes, the George IV Diamond Diadem (when arriving and leaving – she wore the Imperial State Crown during her speech), the Coronation necklace and earrings, and the collar and Great George of the Order of the Garter.
Camilla wore a white, beaded gown along with the Greville/Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara, pearl choker with diamond clasp, the star, riband, and badge of the Royal Victorian Order, and the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.
Philip, Charles (who, in the photo below, looks really sad for some reason) and Anne all wore their military uniforms as well as the collar and Great George of the Order of the Garter, and the riband of the Order of the Thistle.
Because tiaras… Here’s Lady Susan Hussey, the Queen’s lady-in-waiting, wearing her tiara, along with the Royal Victorian Order.
During the Queen’s speech, HM announced that the President of China, Xi Jinping, will pay a State Visit to the UK in October this year. The President of China and his wife were invited for a State Visit by the Queen during Prince William‘s tour of China in March. I wonder if William and Kate Middleton will participate in the State Visit. They participated in the State Visit from Singapore in October 2014 – though they did not participate in the State Dinner portion of the events – after meeting the President when they were in Singapore in September 2012. Charles and Camilla participated in the State Visit from Mexico in March after touring Mexico in November 2014. So since William toured China and met the President this past March, it would make sense if he, and Kate, participates in the State Visit from China. It will be more significant to see Charles participate in the State Visit from China as he has publicly supported Tibet and Hong Kong in the past (and did not participate in the last State Visit from China in 2005), but it would be cool to see William and Kate participate (Kate would have to come out of hiding in order to do that, but you know).
Links: BBC article.
Photos: British Monarchy Twitter / British Monarchy Instagram / Getty