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Why the Queen didn't wear the Imperial State Crown at the State Opening of Parliament

It's the third time the Queen has not worn the jewels

queen parliament
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Queen has officially opened Parliament, with her speech setting out the government's agenda for plans and future legislation. Like any ceremonial event, there's always a great deal of pomp and ceremony involved with the State Opening of Parliament and it begins with the Queen's procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster.

WATCH: The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament

Traditionally the monarch wears the long crimson velvet Robe of State and the Imperial State Crown, but this year, the jewels were carried into the House of Lords chamber ahead of her arrival.

READ: The Queen returns to royal duties after summer break in Balmoral

imperial state crown© Photo: Getty Images

The Imperial State Crown is carried into the House of Lords

The Imperial State Crown weighs more than 1kg and is adorned with 2,901 precious stones, including the Cullinan II diamond – making it very, very heavy! So given its weight and her age, the 93-year-old monarch wore the smaller George IV State Diadem throughout the entire ceremony, instead of changing it to the crown as seen traditionally. She also wore her diamond Coronation necklace with a white embellished Angela Kelly dress.

MORE: 10 times Duchess Kate has worn a tiara and looked like a Queen

queen state opening© Photo: Getty Images

The Imperial State Crown was placed next to the Queen during her speech

This is the third time in her reign that the Queen hasn't worn the Imperial State Crown – we saw a dressed down monarch in 2017 following June's snap election, and in 1974 when there were two general elections. In a BBC documentary The Coronation last year, the monarch spoke about what was it was like to wear the heavy jewels, saying: "You can't look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up, because if you did, your neck would break, it would fall off. So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise they're quite important things."

Her Majesty was accompanied by her son Prince Charles, in full regimental dress, and the Duchess of Cornwall, wearing the Greville tiara, to the State Opening of Parliament on Monday. The Queen resumed her royal duties on Friday with a visit to Morden, following her summer break in Balmoral. On Tuesday, she and Camilla will attend a service to mark the 750th anniversary of the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey. 

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