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What can we expect from the Queen's Speech?

The ceremony has existed in its current form since 1852, and kickstarts the British government’s legislative agenda.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE QUEEN’S SPEECH ceremony will begin in all its regal glory at 11.30am today.

Underneath all the red tassles, solid gold ornamental props and splendour, is a very basic function – the start of a British parliamentary session where the government’s agenda and proposed policies are outlined.

For Johnson’s government, we’re expecting 22 proposed new bills that will bring about the change that he has promised since taking office in July, among them plans to make those voting in UK elections produce ID before being given a ballot paper.

Although bills from the previous session were wiped from the agenda during prorogation, which was initiated last Monday, bills being carried over from the 2017-19 Session include the Domestic Abuse Bill 2017-19.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid will hold a budget on implementing these policies on 6 November – but only if there’s a Brexit deal.

About the Queen’s Speech

Traditions surrounding the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech can be traced back to the 16th century.

The event is the only regular time when the three parts which make up the UK parliament, the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, come together, and is the most obvious symbol of the royal families’ intertwined relationship with the British legislature. 

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

What happens during the Queen’s Speech

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 Imperial State Crown and 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.

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 (more on this here). MPs 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.

 When the Queen says: “I pray that the blessing of almighty God may rest upon your counsels” that means the speech is over.

- With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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