The Queen will attend a 'dressed-down' State Opening of Parliament later this morning, marking the first time in 43 years that she will not wear the glittering Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State. In a break with tradition, Her Majesty will opt for a hat and a day dress. Accompanied by her son Prince Charles, she will travel to the Houses of Parliament in a car, rather than the majestic Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Her crown will still be carried by an officer of state, along with the Sword of State and Cap of Maintenance, symbols of her power and authority.
The Queen's husband Prince Philip was due to attend, but the 96-year-old royal was admitted to hospital on Tuesday night for treatment on a pre-existing infection. It is the first time since 1974 that a scaled-back ceremony has taken place, and only the second time the Queen has worn a day dress and hat for the event. The upcoming State Opening has been described as "a pale shadow of its former self" by the BBC's royal correspondent Peter Hunt.
The Queen traditionally wears the glittering Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State
But the temporary changes for this year are simply down to timing. Trooping the Colour took place on Saturday 17 June, and with only a few days until the next major royal event, the State Opening, there was little time to rehearse. Back in April, Buckingham Palace acknowledged the tricky logistics, saying that the State Opening would take place with "reduced ceremonial elements". Officials insisted that the changes had nothing to do with the Queen's 91 years of age but rather lack of time to rehearse properly.
The ceremony was due to take place on Monday 19 June following Prime Minister Theresa May's snap general election, but was delayed further by a couple of days following the hung parliament result. As is tradition, during the ceremony the Queen will read a speech written by government that outlines their agenda for the coming parliamentary year.