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The Queen's Speech: robes, tiaras and lots of pomp



  House of Lords during the Queen's Address

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PA Media

Peers in their purple velvet robes hurry into the Lords Chamber, filled with excited chatter from the members and their guests. [1

9659005] Men in morning suits and women in their most beautiful clothes – some wearing tiaras – take their seats in the famous chamber.

In the small, crowded gallery, Prime Minister's partner Carrie Symonds and his father, Stanley Johnson, chat and wait patiently for the Queen's arrival.

Justice of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, frolicking in front of the room, smiling and talking to colleagues.

It was only three weeks ago that she made the bombing decision that Boris Johnson's decision to suspend the parliament was unlawful.

Now she is one of the judges who has a seat in the front row for announcing his government plans.

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PA Media

Caption

The partner and father of Prime Minister Carrie Symonds with Stanley Johnson

The famous red benches are filling up fast, a number of colleagues are using their big, white programs to fan out while many of the 779 members of the House of Lords are trying to intrude. They turn to each other and catch up, as if it were the first day of school.

There are only a few places left in the middle and back.

The noise – and the excited atmosphere – builds up. It changes regularly from loud roar to complete silence and back as the gathering senses that the monarch will arrive soon – only to realize that it is a false alarm.

This chamber is much larger than the commons, full of red and gold and adorned with paintings and statues.

For a space that seems too small to accommodate all ages, it's amazing how small you can feel with stained glass. Exceeding windows and a beautifully decorated ceiling complete the picture.

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PA media

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The imperial state crown is carried by Parliament into the Lords Chamber

Suddenly, a trumpet fanfare sounds in the distance, signaling that the queen is actually arriving, and that a permanent silence ensues.

Gallery doors are closed. Lights went out.

Then the lights are lit when the imperial state crown – seen only at coronations and state openings of Parliament – is brought into the chamber.

The queen follows her – her long, white dress captures the light sparkling with every movement like the crown she wears.

Peers and guests are on their left as they arrive, as the monarch takes her place at the Golden Throne, with her son, Prince Charles. This is the 65th time she has performed this task.

The house sits in silence as Black Rod – a high-ranking parliamentary official who is the Queen's representative in the Lords – travels to the Commons to call MPs.

19659003] PA Media

Caption

Almost every square was taken when the queen read the speech

The atmosphere feels a little happy when Commons MPs, led by a smiling and laughing John Bercow, the speaker, in his ceremonial robe, stepped in.

This will be his last address to the Queen.

MPs pack in a small room under the gallery of reporters. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and union leader Jeremy Corbyn clear their throat.

The queen clears her throat and begins her speech. Her voice echoes through the chamber, accompanied only by the occasional click of a press photographer or a cough from her audience.

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AFP

Caption

The Queen was accompanied by the Prince of Wales

It begins with Brexit and states that the Government's "Priority" has always been to ensure Britain's exit from the EU on October 31 in just 17 days, NHS, Education and the Environment.

Ten minutes later, it's all over. The queen gets up, takes the hand of the Prince of Wales and walks slowly back into the locker room.

The doors close and the chamber breaks into noise again. The parliament is open.


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