The Queen opens Parliament

The Queen opens Parliament

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:

Imperial State Crown

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 The Imperial State Crown was originally made for Queen Victoria‘s coronation in 1838, and incorporates gemstones including the diamond known as the Second Star of Africa, the Black Prince’s Ruby, the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.

Imperial State Crown close up

A sapphire that once belonged to Edward the Confessor is pretty damn cool.

Imperial State Crown close up 2

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

51 thoughts on “The Queen opens Parliament

  1. I have just had a look at RD……some of the posters there are saying that the Queen invited Whiney to attend The State Opening of Parliament, but he declined !!!! I don’t know how true this is. I assumed that an invitation by the Queen to this very important occasion was really an order.

  2. I was struck by how the Queen seems to have aged in the recent months. I know that she is getting on, but she always seemed to look very similar to me and then WHAM. I think that Charles is probably thinking, “I am never going to get to be bloody King”

    1. That’s what happens with aging. It happens even in youth. One day you are all youthful gadding about town and one day you wake up middle aged. Seemingly overnight. Then that stage holds into old age, but again suddenly overnight, BAM you are O-L-D. It happened to Philip though he seems to have regained some pep.

      1. It is scary, I am at the middle aged bit at the moment and I cannot believe how young the younger people are looking LOL I agree with you about Philip though he is looking better than he did a few months ago

  3. I love the pageantry as well. There is a lot of history in the cvcrown jewels. There was a sweet pic of HM and the DOE yesterday. He was belong her down the stairs and it was sweet. All I can say is God Save the Queen.

    1. They are such a sweet couple They remind me of my Grandparents who were 95 and 96 when they passed away. Even in the nursing home when they were separated due to Nan’s dementia they visited each other every day and they sat together holding hands the entire time. They had been married for 72 years and were devoted to each other. I see HM and the DOE doing the same thing. Funnily enough I also see Charles and Camilla doing it too

    2. All I see when I see the crown and jewells on the queen of England is the number of countries they destroyed and stole from – I feel it’s totally shameless to wear a crown with a diamond stolen from Africa after causing untold misery to so many people in those countries in Africa and Asia and be proud of it!!!!

      1. I would agree with you about something like the Koh-i-Noor (which was removed from India under less than wholly legal circumstances; though the ownership of something that is a spoil of war gets a bit confusing), but not about the Cullinan Diamonds.

        From what I understand (via a Wikipedia search), the original Cullinan diamond was found in a privately owned diamond mine (the land of which was purchased legally; by a South African colonist-born man), then was purchased (legally) by a South African colony. That colony’s government then gifted the diamond to the King (which they were perfectly allowed to do as owners of the diamond).

        You could argue that there shouldn’t have been British colonies in Africa, and if there hadn’t been British colonies in Africa the colonist-born man who owned the mine would not have been born in the colony and would not have purchased the mine and the diamond may not have been found (at least not when it was), but the diamond mine was purchased legally, the diamond itself was purchased legally, and the gifting of the diamond to the King was done legally. So I don’t actually see what the problem is.

        PS. Do you hate all colonialism or just British colonialism? Because there were several other European countries that colonized the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. Not just the British.

        **This is my opinion formed with information from Wikipedia, whose information may be incorrect. Should I learn new information, I reserve my right to change my opinion based on that new information, but as it stands now, this is my opinion. I hate that I feel the need to write this qualifier, but I’ve been burned before, so I am writing this qualifier.

        1. I can kind of see where Tari is coming from with this, in that the land, like most places where colonisation took place, was taken from the original inhabitants in unfair and sometimes brutal ways. Perhaps one could argue that Sir Thomas Cullinan (who owned the mine) may have been innocent in that his parents were the ones who moved from the UK and did the dispossessing but I don’t know.

          If South African history is anything to go by, since Apartheid only ended in the 1990s, we can be sure that these diamonds were more so a gift from the European settlers and not actually the true people of the land, at the time. Today South Africa has good relations with the UK and the Monarchy, is part of the Commonwealth and hasn’t made a fuss about the diamonds so it seems for them, today, it’s not an issue.

          The British form of colonisation seems to have been a bit better than others – where if you didn’t meet your coal quota for the day your hand would be chopped off, but no doubt they did some wrongs too. I’m not ignoring that or the carnage that remains… but I don’t think HM should be ashamed wearing that crown with those diamonds because those were different times when they came to be in the monarchy’s possession, and there has been an acknowledgment that what was done was wrong. And the UK and the Windsors and contribute positively to Africa today.

          1. Firstly, i recommend you all read a book called ‘the scramble for Africa’ on the different European countries that decided to carve up Africa without any consultation of the natives. The worst colonisers were Belgium and Germany though Germany had to give up it’s colonies after losing the 2nd world war. To this day very few people realise that the nazi death camps were also present in Africa, in Namibia. The region still suffering from effects of colonisation is still the congo because of specific Belgiun congo policies.

            As much as i enjoy royals, i can not enjoy any of the Belgium ones for this reason.

            Where the British Raj is concerned, the Indians have a point, but i strongly disagree about the ownership of the Koi-Noor diamond because there is no clear owner of it. The only thing we know for certain is that it was found a valley in Afghanistan and given to a local King/cheiftain. The exact origins of that original find are still in dispute because various warring kingdoms invaded whichever Kingdom possessed it and claimed ownership of it as spoilt goods. It has consequently passed through various owners before ending up in India. If we are going to be technical about ownership, Afghanistan has greater claim to it than India.

            where British possession is concerned, one would say that the British were acting in much the same way as the various invaders of India and Afghanistan who owned it for a brief moment.

            Should the spoils of war be kept centuries later? We might as well condemn every invading imperial kingdom from the Greeks to present day america for all the plundering that happens as a result of their invasions. If we gave back everything to their original owners, for a start the west would collapse because much of what is enjoyed by the west was and is plundered from Africa/Asia.

      2. Hi Tari, I can see your point. As a reference I’m American, living in Europe, with a mixed background that’s mostly European, with many close relatives who have significant backgrounds from the native tribes of the Americas. We can’t go back in history and change things or return to historical lands (or at least my family and I literally can’t because we’d be torn apart) and because there has been so much war and strife. Nevertheless it would be nice if HRH The Queen would do something such as display the jewels and give the proceeds to charities helping out people in the former colonies of the jewels, for example. It would be nice to somehow signal that she knows some of the more sordid details of the past and recognizes that part of her personal wealth resulted from that and that some people are now living not as well partly (or mainly? I don’t know) due to that history. Maybe she is doing something like that and I just don’t know about it? I love Harry’s work in Africa because I think in part it teaches him to be more sensitive regarding this topic and it shows that he values other cultures and peoples.

        1. Well I guess technically now the jewels don’t belong to her but to her position as HRH? I’m not actually sure how that all works and I need to get my work week laundry done so I shouldn’t stay on the computer and research ….

  4. Prince Charles might be sad because he seldom gets to see his new granddaughter. And his eldest son and successor is now clearly William Middleton. I’d be sad too if I was him.

    1. If it’s true that HM invited William to show the line of continuity and he turned it down I can understand why Charles looks that way. If he turned it down, he’s a self-involved ass who needs to have his leash tightened and his funding reduced immediately.

  5. I love, love, love history and the pageantry of these events and it’s one reason I fear Whiny ascending to the throne. He will do away with them in the guise of “modernizing” things. There’s no way he wants to go through all of this. Such a shame.

    1. That would suck. Part of the reason the Brits are fun is the pomp and pageantry. No one does pomp like the British.

  6. Sorry that I stray from the subject, but I want to say something… that I am shocked, before the moment I watched for the first time a speech of Countess of Wessex. I didn’t known that her voice is so warm, calm, nice and beautiful. And she seemed so confident, brave and she didn’t have any notes. Wow that must be years of practice.

    1. I believe she worked in public relations before she married Edward, so she is probably used to speaking in public. maybe Charles is sad because he wants to “slim down” the monarchy, but unfortunately his son and heir is not taking up the slack that will inevitably result if the other royals stopped doing engagements.
      But probably he is just bored to tears. I think almost all of those royal events would be so deadly dull!

  7. Ah, the pomp, the pageantry. So British, so grand. Thanks, KMR.
    HM really loves her country and the people. She has reigned with dignity
    and a true dedication

    The jewels were amazing. The tiara and crowns, so incredible.

    Charles did look sad. Perhaps, overwhelmed when seeing his parents age. It is not easy and he has many responsibilities ahead.

    I simply cannot believe that William was invited and did not attend. That makes no sense to me at all.

    I thought Camilla looked amazing She really has come into her own.

    1. I don’t know if this is a genuine question, but I couldn’t resist answering. A LIW is primarily a companion. In the old fashion sense. They are a friend who has the royal’s best interests at heart. They are not paid for their service, but are held in very high regard by everybody due to their unrestricted access to the royal. Their power tends to peak when we have a female sovereign because they are the easiest route to power.

      In other ways, they are an assistant of sorts in the sense that they help in situations where the royal can not eg they carry all the extra stuff the royal might need when out and about. They can be an extra set of hands if the royal is given gifts and flowers or simply to hold the royal’s handbag. They can be the royal’s eyes and ears without appearing to be so. They can be the royal’s informal messenger and enforcer where the royal doesn’t wish to deliver a formal message or enforce a dictat. We actually saw this last part in action one remembrance sunday when Lady Susan Hussey stood next to Kate on the balcony on Remembrace Sunday, Kate behaved impeccably. No giggles, sniffles, eye rolls. Having Lady Susan standing by her side was/is as good as having HM standing by her side.

      Lady Susan Hussey was also assigned to Diana after her wedding to teach Diana the royal ways. Of course Diana bristled at her presence and sent her packing, though she later lied and said the royals hadn’t assigned her anyone and she’d learnt the ropes on her own.

        1. If that’s what it takes to get her in line, they should have someone on her every time she steps out for an appearance. Act like a spoiled, lazy schoolgirl and you get treated like one. Rebecca and Tash are not the ones she needs with her on these things.

        2. Bookended by the polite and proper. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Especially at an event she’s been photographed playing with her hair and grinning at.

          What she learned of manners and propriety growing up was probably very helpful, but she’s moving in a different stratosphere now. Carole can’t be of much use in the decorum dept. at this point. Nicorette, anyone??!

      1. Yes, genuine question and great answer!! Thank you! After reading your explanation the need for a lady in waiting in the modern age makes a lot more sense. I was wondering if it was really more ceremonial now or if there was an actual point. The more I read about Diana the less I think of how she handled her royal role. I still have a whole lot more respect for her than Kate because she actually worked, but she comes across as having been very difficult to work with, not unlike her son the petulant. Maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? I think Prince William is more of a Spencer than a Middleton.

  8. I know it is hard to believe, but i am going to defend billy! It must be very hard look at his father & not feel resentful that all the turmoil that has happened! Will’s parents ancrimonous marriage & having it broadcast over the whole world. It would be very embarrassing & disgusting that other people know your parents did not get along with each other! The father marrying the misteress! Just know you have to be civil to both of them is just be to much for me! I am glad that bill did not go to the state opening of parliament, because waity might insist on coming along & flash everyone! If chuck does not spent time with George & Charlotte, then it might punishment for what happen in the past! At this time bill decided who his children spend time with?

    1. Halia, it may be hard, but at some point William needs to grow up and let the past go. He’s not the only one in the world who has had to live through something like this and he should be grateful that he at least has one parent who is still here and who loves him and supports him. Probably supports him a bit too much, but that’s another topic.

      If he keeps holding on to this he’s going to end up a bitter old version of his current self. And one other point – while it may be entirely different because they weren’t married at the time and didn’t have kids, William wasn’t exactly Mr. Monogamy when it came to Kate. How many times did he dump her and/or fool around when they were going out? The fruit didn’t fall far from the tree.

      1. This argument is ridiculous for any grown up to use. Unless your parent was completely unfit to the point of criminality, you reach a point in adulthood when you have to let it go.

        Further, state parliament is not the place for petty squabbles. This is one of the duties that William and Kate will have to do when they get the top job. Yes it’s unprecedented to have 2 generations of heirs in waiting, but that doesn’t mean he should shirk his duties.

        It also shows that he won’t step up to his duties for really stupid reasons. He treats State opening as a frivolous, ribbon cutting exercise that must be avoided at all costs. It shows a lack of understanding about the gravity of occasion when Kate turns it down on grounds of not wanting to dress up for it. At the end of the day, wear a bin liner if dressing up bothers you, but do your duty.

        With this one non show and reasons given for that non show, he demonstrates his lack of commitment and his contempt for his future role and Kate isn’t the one to make him see that it’s for the greater good to do his duty.

        1. Herazeus, I’m not sure if you were replying to me or Halia, but I think we kind of agree about William. 🙂

        2. Actually there is a precedent. During Queen Victoria’s reign, there were three generations of heirs (Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII), as there is now (Charles, William, George).

    2. A lot of people are the children of divorce, and some people’s parents never even got married (like mine). William had two loving parents for 15 years, and then one parent the rest of his life. My father was absent my entire life, and I was raised by a single (abusive) mother.

      Embarrassing and disgusting to have people know your parents don’t get along? How about hurtful and painful to know that one parent cares more about his money (and sticking it to your mother) than he does about you, and the other parent resents you and purposefully causes you emotional harm?

      No excuses, and I’m not asking for pity. I’m just using that as an example that people have all sorts of family issues, even worse than what William went through, so the excuse of “William is the child of divorce, he lost his mommy” is not a good one. Everyone goes through shit. William has had it pretty damn good in his life compared to others. That does not mean he can’t feel pain about what he went through, it just means he can’t use that as an ongoing excuse almost 20 years after his mother’s death. He is not 15 anymore. He needs to get over it.

      1. As Harry so eloquently said during an interview for Sentebale, comparing what those orphaned children have gone through to the fact the his parents were divorced and his mother died tragically young is preposterous. Sorry, can’t get behind any “Charles is a demon” talk. Both boys have said that they were glad that Charles was happy with Camilla, as I’m sure they would have been for Diana if her heart surgeon would have wanted to marry her. That’s a very adult way of thinking. Not sure his issue now. The Petulant seems the perfect sobriquet.

      2. Wow, you went through a lot. I know you don’t want pity, but I do have heart felt sympathy. I wish you all the best and lots of love from here forwards.

    3. You’re catching a lot of flack for defending the Petulant, so I’ll try not to give you any. 🙂 I agree that his childhood shaped who he is and his poor behaviour can be linked in some ways to this parenting. However, now that he is an adult nearing middle age he needs to act like it, even if it means going to therapy for many years or getting help in some other way. I would have much more sympathy for him if he were a young adult still finding his way, but his behavior falls squarely on his shoulders at this point, regardless of his past. He should have his stuff together at this point, even more so because now he is raising two children himself.

  9. I can’t imagine how heavy that crown must be! Is it just placed on the Queen’s head, or is it secured? I can just imagine that she is concentrating on not letting it fall. But then again, she’s had a lot of practice!

    1. I don’t know whether the crown is secured or not, but I do know she has to practice wearing the crown for several days before the ceremony because the crown is so heavy.

  10. Friends, i am not trying to make excuses for bill! I know other people have worse situations than the whiney boy & myself! Maybe will might therapy, i do not know?

    1. We should all have sympathy for others – I think that’s what you were getting at? We don’t know what someone else’s burdens are if we haven’t walked in their shoes, and being rich and priviledged doesn’t shield you from hardships.

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