For the first time in 120 years, the throne next to Queen Elizabeth II was empty as she opened parliament.
The opening of parliament, one of the Queen’s most important ceremonial functions, is something that she does yearly. It’s usually done with a fair amount of pomp and circumstance, including the wearing of the Imperial Crown with the 317.4 carats Second Star of Africa diamond front and center. Due to the weight of the crown, Her Majesty no longer wears it, but it always accompanies her to the event.
This year, the Queen wore a beautiful coat dress with an embroidery detail, corresponding hat and two aquamarine broaches given to her by her parents on her 18th birthday. It is rather simple, compared to the more elaborate ceremonial dress and robes that she usually wears.
As part of her role, Queen Elizabeth reads a speech written for her by the government. This year’s speech included the year’s legislative agenda, including a ban on LGBTQ conversion therapy, “increasing police powers, legally binding environmental targets, and changes to the U.K.’s health and social services sector.”
The entire address took about 10 minutes, which is a long time for the 95-year-old monarch.
She was accompanied by her son, Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall.
It was her first official engagement outside Zoom and Windsor Castle in months and comes just one month after the death of her beloved husband, Prince Philip.
But perhaps the most historic and significant moment of the who ceremony was the lack of a secondary throne for the monarch’s husband or wife, which had been removed. It’s the first time that had been done in 120 years, and publicly reflects the loss of Prince Philip, who died last month.
To offer support, Prince Charles gently led his mother up the stairs to her throne.
Several articles, including The Washington Post, made a bit of a fuss about her lack of a mask. However, all the attendees had negative COVID tests and wore masks, including her son Prince Charles.
The Opening of Parliament is a sign that things are slowly getting back to normal around the world.
Picture from The Telegraph.