Sunday, 31 May 2015

Five royal reasons to remember May 2015

It's been a right royal month. From the very start, the days of May have been packed with royal news, events and unforgettable photographs. As the fifth month of 2015 retires into history, here are five reasons to remember this most royal time.

1.  Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge

It's hard to believe now but as May got under way Princess Charlotte of Cambridge hadn't even been born. On May 1st all the talk was of how overdue her mum, Kate, was, whether the second royal baby would be a boy or a girl and how much money the bookies would lose if a baby called Alice was born. And then George's little sister arrived, in super fast time, and less than ten hours after the Duke and Duchess ducked in a side door at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington they left again - more publicly - with their baby daughter in their arms. Her name caused widespread aahing when it was announced as it honoured her grandfather, her great grandmother and, of course, the maternal grandmother she will never know. May 2015 belongs to Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge.

2.  The baptism of the last passed over princess?

Another little princess also made the headlines as May 2015 took hold. Princess Gabriella Therese Marie of Monaco was baptised alongside her twin brother, Hereditary Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, in a gorgeous ceremony at their country's cathedral. But little Gabriella made history - she is quite possibly the last royal baby girl born in Europe who will lose the right to reign to a little brother.

Royal rules in Monaco currently give boys precedence so even though he was born two minutes after his sister, Jacques will take the top job one day. But the world is changing fast, even for ancient monarchies, and those rules are now isolated and could well alter. It didn't matter a jot to the little royal twins or their parents who were clearly, openly and obviously besotted with their son and daughter. The royal christening, beneath the blazing May sun of Monaco, saw mum and children in Dior, thousands turn out to wish them well and a very happy royal family greet the crowds on a perfect christening day.

3.  A handshake that made headlines

The Prince of Wales's visit to the Republic of Ireland was always going to make headlines but the meeting that he had with the Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, in Galway was beamed around the world. The handshake shared by the two men was followed by fifteen minutes of talks but it was the photo of their first meeting that ended up on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Historic is an overused word but this was a moment of history and a very special one at that. It is an image that will live on for decades to come.

4.  Welcome to the family

The passed over prince, Carl Philip of Sweden, will make June 2015 all his own as he and his bride, Sofia Hellqvist say 'I do' on the 13th of the month with many of Europe's royals in the chapel for the big day. But the happy couple started a wave of wedding fever in May too as their banns were read, they accepted gifts and then posed for a big family photo with both sets of relations smiling for the camera. The groom, who was born to be king then lost the right in a law change that gave the promise of the throne to his big sister, looked proud and protective of his bride who also got confirmation this month that she will be known from the moment of her marriage as Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia, Duchess of Varmland. 

5.  Harry on the up down under

There's something about Harry but then we knew that already. In days gone by princes might have mourned being bumped a place down the line of succession but while his new niece, Charlotte, settled into the number four spot that had been his, uncle Harry was on the up down under. May was a huge month for Harry as he ended his secondment to the Australian Defence Force before charming most of Sydney on a walkabout as the attachment finished. Then he headed to New Zealand for a week long tour that was so successful the superlatives were quickly exhausted and everyone just kept sighing with happiness everytime he gave out cupcakes/ cuddled puppies/ dodged another marriage proposal. And then, just when it was almost physically impossible for him to do anything more impressive, he hopped off the plane and went straight to Chelsea to cheer for a garden supporting his charity, Sentebale. Harry is a one man walking, talking royal charm offensive and May was perhaps his best month yet. Roll on June.

The Royal Wardrobe

There was a rainbow of queens on display this week as the royal women of Europe took the lead at home and abroad. The Royal Wardrobe still had elements of the monochrome that had dominated the week before but as summer began to arrive, the outlook got much brighter. Here are the outfit from the last seven days that made up that Royal Wardrobe - starting with Queen Maxima who has worn some pretty eye catching pieces on her visit to Canada but this red dress chosen for an evening event in Ottawa is easily the most noticeable. Very eighties, very bright and just very, very Maxima.

The Dutch queen chose a full length red dress by Valentino for the concert that she and Willem-Alexander hosted as a thank you for their welcome in Ottawa. Maybe it was the slicked back hair or the fact that her husband seemed to have hit the hair gel as well but the overall look was very glamourous and ever so slightly Dynasty.

It was pretty hard to pick a stand out look for Maxima from her Canadian wardrobe because everything she wore was worthy of a fashion page all on its own. On day three there was a cream fitted dress with gold belt, gold shoes and straw hat that was a wow of an outfit all on its own.

And then there was the unusual but winning look she picked for her arrival outfit. A white dress dress with pink and black feature stripes hidden beneath a black lace coat with black straw hat, pink bag and very pink lipstick. It shouldn't have worked but somehow it did.

There was (a lot) more bright pink for the first gala outfit of the tour as the queen arrived for a dinner in honour of the royal couple in a cerise one shoulder evening dress with fringed skirt. It might have been a bit flamenco but Maxima turned it into a bit stunning.

And it was kind of the essence of what makes Maxima's royal wardrobe so special. Most of the outfits she's worn in Canada have been striking and sometimes stunning but only she could wear them. Imagining any of her fashion choices on anyone else just doesn't work because probably no one else could make them work. The only exception to that rule was the almost ordinary moss green outfit with statement hat she chose for day two of her tour. Still pretty it just lacked the make you stare factor of her other choices so far.


Another of Europe's new queens was on tour this week as Letizia of Spain headed to Honduras and El Salvador for a four day visit to see co-operation projects involving her own country there. Letizia's wardrobe was a mixture of monochrome and colour and many of the outfits were more casual as this was a working visit. Perhaps the most interesting of them was the white trouser, print top combo she topped with a bright green jacket as she carried out her final day of engagements in El Salvador.
As we've come to expect from Letizia, her royal wardrobe was bang on trend. Another of her day outfits on the tour - this time in Honduras - ticked the white with orange mix that's in the shops right now. The queen chose a white fitted top and trousers and a long orange jacket to make her statement - the jacket had to go, it was fashion conscious but far too hot for the conditions.

Letizia's other day outfits for the tour were based around more muted tones. There was a grey trouser suit for a visit to a market in El Salvador.

For a visit to a water and sanitation plant in El Salvador she chose a pair of black trousers, loose white top and navy jacket.

While for a series of meetings at the Spanish Embassy in Honduras, Queen Letizia gave us our major royal monochrome moment of the week with a pair of black trousers and print top that looked pretty much like an outfit every woman has in her holiday suitcase for those days when it's too hot to wear anything else.
Dare we say it but the usually sartorially unstoppable Letizia has had a few odd choices recently and while most of her clothes on this tour have made their way to the hits column, the debut look was another May miss for the queen. To step off the plane in Honduras she chose a white blouse with grey mix skirt that was perfect for a day at the office but seemed out of place for a consort on a major overseas milestone in her royal career. Add in a pair of strappy sandals that didn't match the outfit and were all but impossible to walk down airplane steps in and you have a rare fail for this queen of fashion.
You don't keep Letizia down for long. Hours later she was making her only gala appearance of the tour at a cultural event hosted in her honour by the President of Honduras and his wife. She stepped out in an off the shoulder black sequinned cocktail dress with bundles of wow factor.

And as she ended the tour she rewore her Hugo Boss pink and mauve print dress, first seen just about a year ago as she went solo as a queen for the first time, for a lunch with the President of El Salvador and his wife. It was a bit creased this time round but still catches the eye.

Meanwhile, Queen Sofia was doing was Queen Sofia does best - rocking a metallic effect two piece suit. A bit like the Queen Mother before her, she has settled on a style that works and bought it in just about every colour. This time round it was silver and looked super.

Sofia also opened the Madrid Book Fair in the week and went for a black and white mix that tapped into the monochrome madness that swept the Royal Wardrobe last week. It was quite a modern look for the queen and she looked very relaxed and happy as she talked books in the sizzling summer heat.

The Crown Princess of Norway was also coming over all bookish this week as she hit the Literature Train for 2015 to bring reading to a wider audience. Mette-Marit went for black jacket and skirt combos all the way through with a monochrome attempt the best of the lot.  

There was also a misty mauve pleated chiffon type skirt which looked striking but strange.

And to open the Norwegian Literature Festival, Mette-Marit went for a black and white printed dress with black jacket which was the plainest of the three looks and verging on the drab - not something that's often said about this particular princess.
Queen Sonja, in contrast, added a splash of colour for her engagement of the week, The Norwegian consort wore a bright pink coat with matching hat for the opening of the Bergen International Festival.
For an evening event at the festival, the Norwegian queen chose a fabulous pair of midnight blue wide leg trousers which then got mostly covered up by a massive black shawl type top which was a shame as the matching midnight blue evening shoes held the promise of a superstylish effect.
Princess Martha Louise of Norway made a rare official public appearance this week and was dressed all in cream for the event.   Her pretty lace dress with contrasting jacket looked fresh and spring like and really rather understated for a princess know to hit the bright and out there button sometimes when it comes to getting ready.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's most striking outfit of the week was also an all white affair. The princess picked trousers, top, jacket, ballet pumps and trilby hat in the hue for a trip to sunny Gotland. The white look with the bright sunshine provided some of the most summery royal photos of the year so far and the outfit was so unusual it was a total scene stealer.

She lost the hat but kept the outfit for an audience with the Prime Minister of Estonia on her return from Gotland.  And it might just be the angle of the photograph and white trousers are notoriously unforgiving but is that the beginnings of a bump...
For her other appearance this week, a meeting ahead of the upcoming Indian State Visit, Victoria's tummy was out of sight as she perched at a table with her parents and husband while wearing a white top and beige jacket with oversize black buttons. Queen Silvia went for grey without the slightest hint of a blast of colour from one of her famous scarves. All very low key - maybe they're wardrobed out with wedding preparations going on...
Queen Silvia kept the jacket on for an audience she and King Carl XVI Gustaf had with the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church - a closer look revealed streaks of navy in the weave of the jacket.
Just to show that queens are really in the pink this week, Silvia chose a dress in a shade almost identical to the one worn by Sonja of Norway. The Swedish consort wore her cerise frock for a Children's Day event - somehow, Silvia even managed to make this super bright shade look understated and discreet.
Another queen looking bright and brilliant this week was Mathilde of the Belgians who chose a vibrant apple green dress for a visit to TV and radio studios. Admittedly, the leaves around the neckline were slightly odd but she and King Philippe did do everyone's favourite royal trick of matching his tie to her outfit and all ended well.

The decision of the King of the Belgians to do up his jacket at another engagement for the royal couple almost overshadowed Mathilde's outfit as everyone waited for Philippe to breathe out and send a button flying. He didn't and it didn't meaning UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon could breathe a sigh of relief and we all got a chance to enjoy a very Mathilde outfit of bright orange wrap top, grey and orange floral print skirt and orange shoes.

Mathilde went for a burnished orange bronze mix effect dress as she and her husband met the jury for the Queen Elisabeth Music Prize at the Royal Palace in the week.


For the big final, the Queen of the Belgians chose a simple white dress that came a close second as her best look of the week.

But Mathilde's top outfit was the deep pink shift dress worn to one of the finals of the music competition. It was a simple but effective look but got extra points for co-ordinating perfectly with the cardigan worn by her daughter, Elisabeth, whose pretty butterfly dress was a stylish, chic look perfect for a princess at the start of her teenage years.

There was an unusual burst of green for Denmark's queen in the week. Margrethe's suit was pretty similar to many she's worn, complete with matching hat, but the unusual shade set it apart.

Crown Princess Mary went for royal blue for a meeting in the week. The top of the dress was visible as she sat at a table and looked slimline and chic. There might have been a puffball skirt underneath for all we know but the look, what there was of it, was good.

There were navy blue suede wedges on display when Mary visited a school in the week. They were worn with grey mix cut off trousers, a white shirt and a dark grey jacket and if anyone is still counting points between Mary and Letizia then add some more to Denmark's column. As both women did smart casual in grey this week, Mary edged it.

You know how those Mary copies Kate copies Letizia copies Mary stories love doing the rounds. Well, this week Mary picked a Breton top with jeans for a sporty day out and only a certain duchess being no maternity leave prevented an immediate deluge of Mary copies Kate stories hitting the stands. 

There have been plenty of stories too about the similarity between Mary and her sister-in-law Marie with questions about who picks the looks they seem to share first. There was no danger of that this week as Marie also went to a sports event but went for a petrol green/ grey jacket with her jeans.

There was definitely no dressing down for the British Royal Family in the week. The State Opening of Parliament means full ceremonial and for the ladies that's a white dress and best jewels. Easy for The Queen who chose yet another perfect full length gown for the occasion and popped on the Imperial State Crown. The look was, as ever, breathtakingly splendid and stunning.

The dress without the Crown and the robes of state was equally magnificent and set off to perfection with what, on an ordinary day, would be a cracking set of diamonds but which at this special event is definitely overshadowed.

There wasn't quite so much success for the Duchess of Cornwall who went all white but ended up looking ever so slightly bridal and not in a good way. The dress should have been stunning but finished being a bit Miss Havisham.

But Camilla can wear diamonds and the bigger the tiara, the better it suits her. A close up of her on her way back to Buckingham Palace following the State Opening showed just how well this duchess does diamonds.

The Queen was also in pale shades for the third Buckingham Palace garden party of the season. She went for palest silver on a very grey day in London and looked suitably warm as the chilly weather took hold.

Princess Beatrice tried combining colour schemes at the same event and ended up like she'd put on one outfit with the accessories for another. Not the best.

Not that it mattered because everyone was looking at Princess Michael of Kent. Not only did she crack out a stunner of a cream and black outfit - Marie Christine remains super stylish - she wore an eye patch. It was a medical necessity rather than a sartorial choice and easily the most talked about royal fashion moment of the week.


The Queen chose a simple pale green dress for a series of audiences in the week.

 Her final outfit of the week, worn to a series of engagements in the Duchy of Lancaster, was a turquoise coat with contrasting hat designed by Angela Kelly who has become one of The Queen's favourites. On the strength of this outfit, it's not hard to see why - it's about as good as it gets in royal couture.


And The Duchess of Cornwall ended her week on a high as well as she chose a navy blue dress with huge white spots for the final of the BBC Radio Two #500words competition. She was handing out medals to young people who had won a story writing contest and Camilla went home safe in the knowledge she'd scored a win of her own with this look.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Royals on social media

The official royal social media accounts were buzzing this week as overseas visits, State Openings and big book events all joined the usual range of royal engagements.  Here's what the royals shared on their official social media this week.

Taking a seat

You can't beat a monarch taking the weight off their feet in an unusual way and that's just what Queen Maxima did this week as she and her husband paid their first State Visit to Canada. They gave the city of Toronto seven Tulpi chairs and the queen gamely sat down in one in the middle of a park and waved like she's never waved before. Classic Maxima, a classic photo - shared on the official Twitter account.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians paid a visit to the studios of VRT, the national public service TV and radio station for the Flemish community in their country. And not long afterwards they shared a photo on Twitter of the king and queen perched on reporters' chairs in the news studio. Philippe looked like he was getting into his role - but it was just a practice, no royals going live here.

The State Opening of Parliament took place in the week and the British Monarchy Twitter account shared a compellingly odd video on Twitter of the moment the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, seated in a ceremonial carriage, left Buckingham Palace to travel to the Palace of Westminster. Yes, it really is thirty seconds of a coach moving slowly from right to left.

Reading out loud

Europe's royals were feeling bookish this week. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway headed off on her annual mission to bring books, reading and literature to a wider audience on the Literature Train. There were lots of photos shared on the official Twitter accounts and Facebook page including this striking image of a real life princess by a miniature house.

The Duchess of Cornwall invited BBC Radio Two to St James' Palace for the final of the 500 Words competition which saw children from around the UK write short stories. Camilla is passionate about literature and a high profile campaigner to improve literacy levels and she was on hand to present gold medals as seen in this message posted on the Clarence House Twitter account.

Queen Sofia of Spain headed to the annual Book Fair in Madrid to overseee its official 2015 launch and lots of images of royal browsing of books were shared on the official Twitter account.

Building bridges

Eurovision 2015 had encouraged us all to start building bridges and it seems that Crown Prince Haakon took it quite literally as he headed to a project run by the fund which bears his name to see young apprentices getting to grips with the task of putting up scaffolding. The Norwegian Royal Household shared two videos of the visit on its official You Tube Channel.

Queen Letizia of Spain undertook her first overseas co-operation visit this week to help cement the bridges that already exist between her country and Honduras and El Salvador. She enjoyed a packed four day agenda with images dominating the Casa Real Twitter and You Tube accounts including this tweet from her visit to Comoyagua in Honduras.

And the Crown Princess of Sweden did what more and more tourists are doing - she headed to the island of Gotland which is a bit too far away from the mainland for a bridge. But the trip did give her the chance to show off a cracker of a white trilby hat and to give us a glimpse of the sun in a rainy and chilly week in most of Europe with images on the official Facebook page to brighten up our day. That's the bridge built to summer - here it comes.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Letizia says thank you

As she ended her four day visit to Honduras and El Salvador to see first hand projects involving co-operation from Spain, Queen Letizia was full of thanks. She expressed her gratitude to her hosts, to those she had met and to those she had seen working on major projects to help thousands of people. And she passed on the good wishes of her husband, King Felipe, as well. And when she steps off the plane in Madrid she may well be getting some thanks of her own for her first major overseas solo tour as a queen has been a success.

Queen Letizia of Spain with the President and First Lady of El Salvador at a lunch they gave in her honour as she ended her visit to their country
(photo @sanchezceren Twitter)

The final day of the visit had seen Letizia hold a meeting with people from around the world who are working on co-operation projects in El Salvador before heading off to the Cultural Centre of Spain in the country's capital, San Salvador, where she heard about projects based in the arts which aim to stamp out violence and poverty.


 The last stop of her tour was a lunch at the President's official residence given in her honour by President Salvador Sanchez Ceren and his wife, Margarita Villalta. And it was there that Letizia said thank you as well as expressing the desire of her fellow countrypeople to keep on working on projects with those in El Salvador to help improve conditions for those who need support.

Then it was off to the airport for a final farewell before the Queen of Spain headed home with happy memories and safe in the knowledge that this major event in her career as a consort has gone off rather well indeed. In the past, Letizia's critics have asked why she didn't take on more foreign trips or more work on her own. She has shown in the past week that overseas trips and solo tours are no bother to her at all. As her husband approaches the first anniversary of his accession, his consort is showing that her royal past is morphing into a very queenly future.

Looking forwards and backwards to say thank you

The King and Queen of the Netherlands have begun their first State Visit to Canada. And while this first official trip to the country marks a new step forward in the reign of Willem-Alexander and his consort, Maxima, the royal couple's focus has been on the past. The visit began by looking back and saying thank you to those who helped free the Netherlands from occupation in World War Two. And that will be the theme of their four day stay as the king and queen travel thousands of miles across Canada.

The King and Queen of the Netherlands with the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harpur, and his wife at the start of their Canadian visit

Willem-Alexander and Maxima were welcomed to Canada by its Governor General who threw open the doors of his official residence, Rideau Hall, for a ceremony to say hello. His royal visits planted a tree and then went on to the parliament buildings where they were shown historical records charting the relationship between their own country. But memories of a more recent time in their shared history dominated the afternoon.


The royal couple went on to lay a wreath at the National War Memorial to remember Canadian soldiers killed in World War Two.

And then one of the most special moments of the whole visit took place as Willem-Alexander, whose own mother was evacuated to Canada during the war and whose aunt, Margriet, was born there met veterans who had helped liberate his country seven decades ago. It was a solemn and moving event, filled with memories and some laughter but a stark reminder of the reason the relationship between the Netherlands and Canada is so strong.

The evening of day one saw Willem-Alexander and Maxima as guests of honour at a State Banquet. The Queen of the Netherlands chose a bright pink dress with fringed skirt - her day outfit had featured a bright pink stripe across the top of the dress and was worn with a cerise bag and very pink lipstick.


But after that brief interlude of modern state finery, a true combination of past and present was on the agenda for the first engagement of their second day in Canada. The King and Queen of the Netherlands visited the University of Waterloo where they helped inaugurate seventy scholarships set up as a joint venture between the Netherlands and Canada to say thank you for seventy years of freedom.

The King and Queen of the Netherlands at the Liberation Scholarship Programme at the University of Waterloo

The past will dominate parts of the coming four days as well as the royal couple make their way round Canada before heading to the United States for a special visit there as well. But arguably one of the biggest moments of this young reign has already taken place as Willem-Alexander, visibly moved and pensive, met soldiers who helped free his country in a land where his mother spent formative years because of the occupation of her homeland. It was a chance for this very modern king to look back and say thank you.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Letizia goes to the market

Queen Letizia of Spain popped to the market on day three of her visit to Honduras and El Salvador but Felipe doesn't need to worry. She wasn't gathering the ingredients for a new attempt on a recipe from another cook book. She was hearing about more co-operation projects involving Spain as her visit brought her to Suchitoto in El Salvador.

Letizia does lunch - the Queen of Spain hears about local produce from a woman at the market in Suchitoto

The trip to the market gave the queen a chance to see lots of different local produce and to meet many of those who rely on it for their living. There was also time for a visit to Santa Lucia's Church and the local town hall. But it was the time at the market stalls that got the most attention - not only was the queen hearing all about Spanish co-operation work, she was also providing some perfect royal photos. After all, who doesn't love a royal talking vegetables, bread and milk?

The day continued with a tour of projects set up by women to help women. Some of this work is focused on helping those affected by violence while other programmes help women overcome economic difficulties and inequalities.

Letizia at a women's project in Suchitoto, El Salvador on May 27th 2015

The queen spent her afternoon in Jiquilisco where one of the issues she was told about was the high incidence of kidney problems in El Salvador and the work going on to treat and research them - just a a few years ago, this kind of kidney problem was said to be the third highest cause of death among adults in the country. And Letizia also visited a water and sanitation project which helps around 3,000 people.


 Which all means that Letizia's first big solo overseas tour as queen is all but at an end. After another morning of engagements in El Salvador she will head back to Spain with a bit of a success under her belt. And Felipe can breathe a sigh of relief - there were no vegetables in the queen's (rather large) handbag as she left her day at the market.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Pomp, ceremony and the Queen's Speech

It is a duty that monarchs have performed for hundreds of years and the Queen is up there with those who have done it most often. The State Opening of Parliament signals the official beginnings of the new government which won power in the General Election of May 7th and today, following a pattern of decades standing, the Queen read out its intentions from the throne in the House of Lords while the House of Commons jostled for position at the opposite end of the chamber.

The Queen's Speech started the new parliamentary term

It was, as always, a day of history, pomp and pageantry and a reminder of how the way that Britain is ruled has changed throughout time. The Queen travelled by carriage from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall followed them and shared their departure with the rest of the world in a strangely compelling video tweeted by the British Monarchy account.

The Queen and the Duchess, as is also traditional, wore full length white dresses with Camilla looking almost bridal in her choice - at times stunning, at times a bit too much like a cream version of hr blue wedding dress.

The Queen headed off to the Robing Room where she put on the Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State. The crown, most recently remade in 1937 for the coronation of her father George VI, was carried into the Palace of Westminster on a red cushion before the ceremony.

The Queen then led the royal procession through the ancient corridors of power. The monarch, with her consort at her side, walked slowly towards the House of Lords where she assumed her throne and waited for the elected politicians who now wield the control and influence that once belonged to her predecessors.


Meanwhile, one of the most famous pieces of political theatre in the world was under way as Black Rod - an official of the House of Lords - was sent to summon the Commons to hear the Queen's Speech. For some it's the highlight of the day. He knows as well as we all do that as he approaches the door it will be slammed in his face to show the independence of the Commons from the monarchy. It's a gesture that dates back to the English Civil War when the Queen's predecessor, the first King Charles, was at odds with those who didn't enjoy his government. Three hundred and fifty years on, it is a moment that everyone expects and watches with relish but the underlying meaning remains. The Queen may be making the speech but the policies in it are written by the government, the men and women chosen by the people to rule, and they will come to listen in their own time.

Black Rod struck the door of the Commons three times, he commanded the members of that House to come to the Lords to listen to the Queen and was followed into that chamber by the hundreds of MPs recently returned to Parliament by the will of the people. They stood at the other end of the room from the Queen and listened as she told them what her government planned to do in a speech prepared for her by them and from which she never deviates.


And then, it was all over. The speech done, the Commons left the Lords and the Queen left Parliament and everyone went back to doing what they usually do. The politicians started governing while the Prince of Wales swapped his ceremonial uniform for a suit and headed off on another engagement. But none of that could happen until the Queen left the Palace of Westminster. And as she turned her back with another State Opening completed it was the sign that a new term, a new government, a new chapter in British political history had begun. Pomp, ceremony and the Queen's Speech over for another year.