Normally a day of pomp and pageantry during which the Queen announces the government’s legislative programme for the year ahead, the queen’s speech 2017 at the State Opening of Parliament was a notably paired down affair yesterday.
As was announced some months ago, the Queen ‘dressed-down’ for the occasion for the first time since 1974, opting for her “day dress” rather than traditional robes and a crown for the event. There were also other “reduced ceremonial elements”, such as the absence of a royal procession into the House of Lords chamber, and the fact that Her Majesty arrived at Parliament in a car, rather than a traditional horse-drawn carriage.
For the first time ever, the Queen was accompanied by Prince Charles for the proceedings, due to the fact that the Duke of Edinburgh was recovering from an infection in hospital.
During her speech, Her Majesty announced 27 bills, eight of which are concerned with Brexit and the impact it will have on the UK. Controversially, significant elements of the Conservative party manifesto were left out of the speech, which received widespread criticism for members of the opposition. Instead, the Queen’s speech 2017 focused on bills which relate to the impact Brexit will have on immigration, trade and sectors such as farming and fishing.
Find out what the Queen’s speech 2017 means for you at GOV.UK
The controversial state visit by President Donald Trump was also left out of the Queen’s speech yesterday, causing many to question if the divisive decision to invite the US president to meet the Queen had been dropped.
Jeremy Corbyn called the Queen’s speech 2017 a, “threadbare legislative programme from a government that has lost its majority and apparently run out of ideas altogether”.
The Labour leader also raised eyebrows by neglecting to bow to the Queen on her arrival. Some have labelled the move as ‘deliberate disrespect’ towards Her Majesty.
The Queen’s choice of ‘day dress’ for the occasion also proved to be controversial, with many comparing Her Majesty’s choice of millinery to the EU flag.
Following the controversial Queen’s speech, which seems defined more by what Her Majesty did not say, MPs debated the government’s plans late into the day with Theresa May saying that the country was divided, “between red and blue, young and old and Leave and Remain”. Mrs May insisted that it was Parliament’s responsibility to heal the rift, not exacerbate the divide.