The State Opening of Parliament
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The State Opening of Parliament

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The life of a Parliament usually lasts about a year, and new sessions tend to begin in early November of any year, with the State Opening of Parliament by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen arrives by the horse-drawn Irish State Coach from Buckingham Palace with an escort of household cavalry. On arrival at the Royal Entrance of the Palace of Westminster, she is received by the Great Officers of State, who escort her up the Royal Staircase and through the Norman Porch into the Robing Room.

The procession makes its way to the Chamber of the House of Lords through the Royal Gallery, where the Yeomen of the Guard line the route.

Once the procession has arrived in the Lords' Chamber, at the Queen's command the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod takes his long walk to summon the Members of the House of Commons to hear the Queen's address.

When he reaches the door of the House, he finds it slammed in his face by the Serjeant at Arms - an act symbolic of the Commons claim to exclude the sovereign, in fact any stranger, from their business. Black Rod knocks three times at the door of the Commons, and when the door is opened he advances and summons the Members to the House of Peers.

Madam Speaker - The Queen commands this honourable house to attend her majesty immediately in the House of Peers.
- Black Rod.

When the Commons have assembled at the bar, the Lord Chancellor presents the Queen with the Speech, which she reads from the throne. Although named the Queen's Speech, it is actually written by the Cabinet.

My Lords and members of the House of Commons. The Duke of Edinburgh and I look forward to receiving state visits by His Excellency the President of Brazil in December ...
The Queen.

When the Queen has finished the Speaker bows and retires, followed by Members, back to the Chamber of the House of Commons. The Parliamentary session has formally begun. Advanced Category Search

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