Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Queen gets a lift into the headlines

The Queen sits down while everyone else gets excited about her taking a lift

As breaking news goes, you wouldn't really expect it to make headlines. A ninety year old woman with a sore knee gets the lift instead of taking the stairs. So far, so very sensible. But when the woman in question is the Queen and the lift under scrutiny is taking her to the State Opening of Parliament, people get excited. As Elizabeth II headed to the Palace of Westminster yesterday, the usual pomp and ceremony was all present but it was the elevator which got everyone talking.

The State Opening of Parliament makes it on to several front pages this morning

Until now, the Queen has walked the 26 steps taking her from the Sovereign's Entrance and into the Palace of Westminster on every other occasion she has opened Parliament in her reign of 64 years and counting. But three weeks after her 90th birthday. she took the lift and she looked rather amused by the whole thing as she emerged from it.

After that it was business as usual as she headed into the Robing Room and put on her robes of State and the Imperial State Crown, neither of them exactly light and easy to wear. 

The Queen wore them as easily as she has throughout her reign and the procession into the House of Lords, where she read her speech to the assembled members of the Lords and Commons, was every bit as magnificent as it always is.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sat on their gold thrones, that of Elizabeth II slightly higher than the one belonging to her consort. At her side through the event was her heir, the Prince of Wales, who at the age of 67 might have preferred the lift himself but who instead did the stairs along with the Duchess of Cornwall who looked about as majestic as she ever has at this State Opening.

We'd also had traditional carriage processions to get there with the Queen arriving at the Palace of Westminster in the Diamond Jubilee Coach while Charles and Camilla took the Irish State Coach from Clarence House.

It's perhaps testament to the constancy and enduring nature of the Queen's reign that one small difference from what has gone before has excited so much attention. The glitter and splendour of the State Opening of Parliament was all there but this year, it was a more modern addition to tradition that gave everyone a lift.

Photo credit: BBC News still.

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