The Queen presides over the state opening of Parliament

The Queen watched over the state opening of Parliament for the 63rd time on Tuesday, amid the traditional pomp and ceremony of the occasion.

Flanked by her husband Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, she read out a speech written her by ministers.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg presented a united front as they set out their plans for the final year of their coalition.

Pensions took centre stage in the programme; among the other measures were changes to workplace schemes, plans for a 5p charge for plastic bags, a modern slavery bill, curbs on "excessive redundancy payments", a new state-funded childcare subsidy and the decision to give voters limited power to kick out misbehaving MPs.

There was a moment of drama towards the end of the speech when one of the Queen’s pageboys, who helps carry her train, appeared to faint. Prince Charles and Camilla, who were sat nearest the little boy, showed concern as help was summoned and he was carried out of the chamber.