Why the Queen was not wearing a crown during the State Opening of Parliament

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales sit in the chamber ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by the Queen, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.

The Queen’s Speech was a less grand-looking affair today, with the monarch arriving in a car instead of a carriage and wearing a hat in place of a crown.

The State Opening of Parliament has been deliberately designed with “reduced ceremonial elements”, as Downing Street has described it.

The focus away from pageantry is due to the “unique circumstances of the general election” - which was called days after the Queen last opened Parliament, in October, and “the proximity to Christmas”, according to Parliament’s website.

Besides using a Bentley over a horse-drawn carriage, the Queen wore a day dress and hat instead of ceremonial robes and crown.

Prince Charles attended in a morning suit. Prince Philip has retired from most public engagements.

Despite the Queen appearing in more casual clothing than normal, the event retained a lot of the pomp it is famous for.

Yeoman warders parade through the Sovereign's entrance ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.

The Yeoman of the Guard, dressed in vibrant red uniforms, searched the cellar of Parliament, a ceremonial task that dates back to when Guy Fawkes tried to destroy the Palace of Westminster in 1605.

The State Opening of Parliament is held to begin the new parliamentary year and always starts with the Queen’s Speech, where the monarch sets out her government’s legislative programme.

She reads it in the House of Lords, with members of the Commons attending. Politicians then debate the speech after she leaves.

The ceremony dates back to 1852, when the current Palace of Westminster was opened following a fire.

The Queen previously held a more dressed-down state opening in 2017, following Theresa May’s ill-fated snap election.