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Resplendent Queen opens Parliament with traditional pomp and ceremony

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The Queen was in full regalia as she presided over the state opening of Parliament on Wednesday morning. Her Majesty donned an elaborate cream gown, a diamond necklace, pearl drop earrings and – in keeping with tradition – the Robe of State and the glittering Imperial State Crown.

There was a particularly tender moment as she walked into the House of Lords accompanied by her 95-year-old husband Prince Philip. The Duke held his wife's hand and diligently helped her up the steps to her throne.

Earlier that morning, the couple had made the short trip from Buckingham Palace to the Sovereign's Entrance at the Houses of Parliament, travelling in the majestic Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Royal fans had lined the rain-soaked Mall to wave to the Queen and Prince Philip as they drove past.


the queen state opening7© Photo: PA

The Queen presided over the state opening of Parliament on Wednesday

Once they arrived at Parliament the Queen opted to take the lift with her husband, avoiding the 26 steps. This was the first time that the 90-year-old monarch had chosen to do so and a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said that the "modest adjustment" had been made for "the Queen's comfort".

Naturally, Her Majesty looked completely at ease and confident in her role. She has opened Parliament more than 60 times. On just two occasions during her reign was she unable to complete the task – in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant.

the queen state opening4© Photo: Getty Images

Her Majesty wore the Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State

The Queen traditionally wears the Imperial State Crown, which is driven from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in a separate carriage. It features gemstones including the Second Star of Africa Diamond, the Black Prince's Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire, St Edward's Sapphire and Queen Elizabeth's Pearls. It was originally made for Queen Victoria's coronation in 1838.

The state opening is a ceremony that is steeped in tradition and dates back to the 17th century. The Queen reads a speech, which is written by government and outlines their agenda for the coming parliamentary year.

the queen state opening5© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Philip supported his wife at the majestic ceremony

MPs and Prime Minister David Cameron then spend the rest of the day and following days discussing the programme of legislation and policies.

This year the main reforms discussed were: the evolution of transport including driverless cars, faster adoption processes, tackling corruption and tax evasion, more freedom for prison governors and a crackdown on extremism and radicalisation. A British Bill of Rights, to replace the Human Rights Act, was also proposed.

the queen state opening2© Photo: Getty Images

The couple travelled to Parliament in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach

Prior to the speech, there are two main traditions which are still kept to this day. A government whip is "held hostage" back at Buckingham Palace, to ensure the safe return of the monarch.

Yeomen of the guard also search the cellars of the palace of Westminster in order to ensure that no modern-day Guy Fawkes-style plot is being carried out.

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