Queen Elizabeth delivers speech at State Opening of Parliament
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
This morning, Her Majesty gave her speech to the nation but, due to coronavirus restrictions, multiple traditions were not followed. Usually, the Queen would announce the Government’s plan for the year in a packed House of Lords Chamber but today only 74 people will be allowed to watch. Just an additional 34 MPs viewed the speech from the Royal Gallery today. THIS BLOG HAS NOW CLOSED. FOLLOW OUR LATEST UPDATES HERE.
In a further break from tradition, the military was not present to form a guard of honour for Queen today.
Indeed, the horse-drawn carriage was not used and Her Majesty travelled to the chamber in the state Bentley.
Within the chamber, all those in attendance were required to wear a mask and produced a negative test in advance of the ceremony.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland did not pass the speech to the Queen for her to then read.
Royal Family Live: Queen set to deliver speech in much different circumstances (Image: GETTY)
In his role as Lord High Chancellor, he instead placed the speech on a table for the Queen to then pick it up.
Controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill were introduced following the “Kill the Bill” protests.
Boris Johnson included legislation to axe the Fixed Term Parliaments Act which restores the Prime Minister’s power to call early elections.
PLEASE FOLLOW BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES:
Prince Harry no longer lives in fear of criticism following his controversial departure from the Royal Family alongside Meghan Markle, it is suggested.
The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex have been at the centre of criticism since they announced last year their intentions to relinquish their royal duties and live independently from the Firm.
However, a royal commentator has claimed the Duke no longer fears what critics may have to say about his new life in California.
Bryony Gordon wrote in an opinion piece for the Telegraph: "The Duke knows he has critics.
“He expects to have critics, given the very public stance he has made, not just about the media, but also his own family.
"He has accepted this, and it is this acceptance that has set him free, in many ways.
"He is no longer living in fear of the repercussions of existing as himself, as he wants and needs to be."
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William created their own YouTube channel which will "battle" Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in a "social media duel", a royal expert has claimed.
Writing a comment for News.com.au, royal expert Daniela Elser spoke of how the Cambridges and Sussexes are fighting for virality in a "social media duel".
She wrote: "Last year, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, signed not one but two mega deals with streaming giants Netflix and Spotify to create TV series, documentaries and podcasts.
"So, just to regroup here. We have two royal couples who are both getting ready to spend an increasing amount of their time cranking out videos to charm the masses and to sell themselves as serious philanthropic forces for the modern age.
"Or, to put it another way: Both couples are now getting ready to try and run up wins on the board on the same very fertile, very valuable turf.
"The battle is now on to see who will go viral first, rack up millions of views first and win over the critics first."
An expert said the Cambridge royals have entered a 'social media duel' with the Sussexes (Image: YOUTUBE / The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge)
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been praised as "a safe pair of hands" to the Royal Family when it is most needed.
Prince William's wife has been described as "a safe pair of hands" to the Monarchy thanks to her support to the Queen.
The Duchess has stepped up her royal duties since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit from the Firm.
Speaking to Vogue, Claudia Joseph, author of Kate: Making of a Princess, claimed the Duchess is now "seen as a safe pair of hands in troubled times".
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, is standing firm in the wake of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s recent bombshell interview, and is said to making sure her family won’t “get walked over” by the couple.
Jenny Eclair, a comedian and commentator, has weighed in on the so-called rivalry between the two royal women.
Writing in a column for The Independent, she said: “Kate, it seems, isn't going to allow herself, William or her children to get walked over.
“She is fighting back, hence the charming, ‘we're so ordinary despite being royal’ birthday snaps of Prince Louis's third birthday.”
A commentator said Kate Middleton 'won’t let Meghan walk over royals’ (Image: PA)
11:35pm update: Backlash launched against Royal Yacht dedicated to Prince Philip
A petition has received thousands of signatures from people slamming Government plans to commission a new Royal Yacht in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh
People who are opposed to public money being spent on a new Royal Yacht have signed a petition in their thousands.
The ship is expected to be called HMS Prince Philip and will replace the decommissioned HMY Britannia.
The ship would be used to promote British business overseas by hosting trade negotiations, diplomatic talks, mooring at trade fairs, and sailing across the world.
The yacht could cost up to £200 million and millions more in annual upkeep.
At the time of writing, a petition entitled 'Cancel plans to commission a new Royal Yacht' has received more than 7,000 signatures.
Dylan Donnelly takes over reporting from Steven Brown
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have teamed up with Procter and Gamble to promote “gender equality”.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their multi-year global partnership with the US consumer goods giant. The couple revealed the partnership on their Archewell Foundation website.
The partnership will focus on gender equality, more inclusive online spaces and resilience and impact through sport.
The Archewell website said: "Archewell Foundation believes that with community, and through compassionate service to others, we can unleash systemic cultural change.
"In service of doing this, and building more compassionate communities, Archewell Foundation announced a multi-year global partnership today with Procter & Gamble.”
Prince Harry has used his royal title on a new project with Oprah Winfrey instead of using the Duke of Sussex.
Prince Harry, 36, will open up about his “mental health journeys and struggles” in his long-awaited documentary series about the issue with Oprah Winfrey.
Harry suffered the trauma of losing his mother aged just 12 and has spoken about spending nearly two decades “not thinking” about her death before eventually getting help after a period of “total chaos”.
But in press releases for the show, the royal has styled himself as “Prince Harry” for the show.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding (Image: PA)
Prince Harry revealed that he had “tried to warn” Meghan Markle about royal life despite her claims of being surprised by it.
Although Megxit happened over a year ago, Meghan and Harry remain firmly under the spotlight.
The couple largely fell from the public’s radar during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, both cooped up in their Californian home, later in a gated community in Montecito, Santa Barbara.
In February, they sprang back on to the agenda after announcing they would no longer be returning as working royals, the Queen later confirming this.
The real bombshell came not a month after when they sat down with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey and aimed several allegations at the Royal Family, including on mental health and racism.
Prince Michael of Kent has been hit with allegations which he vehemently denies about his relationship with Russia this week – and he was reportedly considered a “cult hero” among Russian circles.
Prince Michael, the Queen's cousin, was filmed by reporters from Channel 4 and The Sunday Times, who posed as executives from South Korea over a Zoom meeting.
Lord Reading, a friend of his, described Prince Michael as "Her Majesty's unofficial ambassador to Russia".
According to Channel 4 and The Sunday Times, Prince Michael stated he could meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner-circle on behalf of the company the media outlets were posing as.
Prince Michael has denied having a "special relationship" with President Putin.
Prince Charles itching to get into politics (Image: Getty)
Prince Charles is “itching” to get his hands into politics and lobbying, an insider claimed – even though he is not allowed to.
The Prince of Wales accompanied his mother, Her Majesty, as she read the Queen’s Speech to the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament today.
Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, sat on two state chairs that were taken from the canopy as his mother presented her speech alone for the first time in history.
The State Opening of Parliament marks the start of the parliamentary year, whereby the Queen reads out all proposed governmental policies and legislations.
The speech is written by the Government and is given to the Head of State to read in Parliament.
Meghan Markle gave royal watchers a huge clue how far along in her pregnancy she is in her latest media appearance.
Meghan Markle, 39, has appeared on TV for the first time since her and Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Meghan appeared as part of the Global Citizen VAX Live concert with a pre-recorded video message in which she said women had been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.
Royal expert Sam Rubin explained the “media savvy” Duchess revealed how far along she was in her pregnancy.
Prince Harry during the Vax Live concert (Image: Getty)
Prince Harry is “spiritually at home” in California, according to his journalist friend Bryony Gordon.
The columnist, who is a friend of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, claimed Harry now has a “sense of purpose” after quitting royal duties and moving to America with Meghan Markle.
Ms Gordon made the comments as the Duke opened up on mental health to mark the launch of his series about the subject with Oprah Winfrey.
The columnist rejected suggestions that former actress Meghan has “changed” Harry.
Writing in the Telegraph, she said: “It is often suggested that the Duke's wife, Meghan, has somehow changed him, as if he is a man completely incapable of independent thought.
Prince Charles has made a visit to meet hospital staff who cared for his late father Prince Philip.
The Prince of Wales visited St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London on Tuesday afternoon.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who died peacefully at Windsor Castle last month, underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at the hospital in March.
During the visit ahead of International Nurses’ Day, Charles met staff who cared for Philip, whose funeral took place on April 17.
The royal also met patient Stella Amore-Fernandez, 46, from East London, who was admitted with coronavirus on Christmas Day.
She told Charles she owed her life to the hospital’s staff.
Princess Beatrice announces winner of book competition (Image: YouTube/Oscar’s Book Prize)
Princess Beatrice has been given a special new role as she revealed the winner of a book competition.
The eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has been patron of the Oscar’s Book Prize since 2017.
Now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Princess Beatrice announced this year’s winner via video message on the website and streamed on the prize’s YouTube channel.
Lu Fraser’s debut novel, The Littlest Yak, was named the winner of Oscar’s Book Prize 2021 and received the £10,000 prize.
Speaking about the winning book, Beatrice said, "This is a beautiful book, and the winners should be so proud of everything they've achieved in pulling together this beautiful story.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s “courtship was way too short”, according to Lady Victoria Hervey.
Prince Andrew’s former love interest made the astonishing claim in an interview with a British celebrity magazine.
The British socialite, 44, claimed the Duke of Duchess of Sussex had moved too fast in their relationship and Meghan Markle would always end up “wanting to be in America”.
The daughter of the 6th Marquess of Bristol also branded Harry and Meghan’s now-infamous Oprah tell-all “distasteful and pretty unreal”.
Speaking to Closer magazine, Lady Victoria said: “I think Harry and Meghan’s courtship was way too short.
“I just don’t see it lasting.
“I remember just before their wedding, I thought, ‘They’ll get married, have a few kids… And she will end up wanting to be in America’.”
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles (Image: Getty)
The first close contact in public between the Queen and Prince Charles since the beginning of the pandemic has tugged at the heartstrings of some royal fans.
Prince Charles held his mother’s hand while accompanying her to her throne at the House of Lords this morning and, again, on their way out.
The Prince of Wales has carried out this duty at every State Opening of Parliament ceremony since 2017, when his late father Prince Philip stepped down from public office.
However, this simple gesture left a few royal fans quite emotional as it marked the first time the royal pair had been able to get close since the beginning of the pandemic.
One royal fan wrote on Twitter: “So good to see them together. Such touching moments between mother & son.”
Prince William “didn’t know” whether royal disagreements between himself and his brother Prince Harry had been resolved, a jokey throwback clip shows.
The two siblings’ relationship appears to be at its lowest ebb, with even their encounter at their grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral doing little to rebuild a connection.
Observers examined their friendship as they met for the first time in more than a year, including BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell, who claimed the “body language” between William and Harry “didn’t look encouraging”.
Reports of a rift between the pair has dominated royal discussion in recent years, and seemed to reach fever pitch when Harry reflected on his relationship with William during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
He spoke of how William and their father Prince Charles were “trapped” in the monarchy, and the brothers were “on different paths”.
This echoed similar comments Harry made two years ago while he and his wife Meghan Markle toured southern Africa.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Image: Getty)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are challenging Kate Middleton and Prince William to a “petty transatlantic popularity contest”, a royal expert has claimed.
Royal author Duncan Larcombe believes that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are trying to compete with Wills and Kate through their Archewell Foundation.
Among numerous projects they have launched since stepping down as senior royals, Meghan, 39, has released a book and they have launched a podcast series.
Harry, 36, is also fronting a behind-the-scenes documentary series for Netflix about the Invictus Games – a sports tournament he created for injured service personnel.
All this comes as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have tried to widen their appeal on social media in recent months by launching a YouTube channel and changing their Instagram name.
The Queen delivered the speech on behalf of her Government today, officially opening the Parliamentary session for the year ahead.
Here is what she said and what the new laws mean.
In a pared-back ceremony, the Queen delivered the Government’s agenda for the year ahead as the nation faces recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and looks forward to what life post-Brexit means.
In the ten-minute speech, The Queen outlined 30 laws that ministers intend to pass in the coming year – some new, some old, and some ongoing.
3pm update: Steven Brown takes over from Bill McLoughlin
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry marked the second birthday of Archie Harrison by making a private donation, it has emerged.
As a symbolic present for Archie, Meghan and Prince Harry donated 200 beanies to the I Got Your Backpack initiative, which supports victims of domestic violence in New Zealand.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex kept their charitable move a secret.
Their donation was made public by New Zealand-based social enterprise Make Give Live, the members of which knitted the warm beanies given to charity by the Sussexes.
The caption to the pictures read: “Thank you Harry & Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and of course, Archie for the generous donation of these 200 beanies to your friends on the other side of the world in New Zealand.
“I Got Your Backpack NZ was very grateful for them and they will be sent in care packs to refugees around NZ to warm heads and hearts.”
The Queen has sent Twitter into overdrive after she said 'gigabit’ in her speech at the State Opening of Parliament.
The Queen took everyone by surprise as she spoke at the State Opening of Parliament today.
She outlined in her speech that the Government pledges to "extend 5G mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband."
One person said on Twitter: "The Queen saying 'gigabit broadband' just feels a bit odd."
Royal Family Live: Only a limited number of people were allowed to attend (Image: Richard Pohle)
Royal Family Live: The Queen was dressed down today (Image: Richard Pohle)
1.04pm update: BBC’s Huw Edwards visibly emotional as he pays tribute to Queen’s sense of duty
The BBC’s Huw Edwards was visibly emotional as he hailed the Queen’s sense of duty following her first speech since Prince Philip’s funeral.
The BBC presenter highlighted the turbulent last few months Queen Elizabeth II has faced as the UK’s Monarch.
Mr Edwards said: “It is remarkable when you think that the Queen there reading the contents of another speech.
“She has read so many, at least 67 of them.
“She is 95 and just appeared with all the usual authority and grace.
“Really I thought it was something to reflect on when you think what the Queen has been through over the last few months.”
11.53am update: More from the speech today
The Queen also pledged that her Government will provide aid for those who need it most.
She added: “My Government will continue to provide aid where it has the greatest impact on reducing poverty and alleviating human suffering.
“My Government will uphold human rights and democracy across the world. It will take forward a global effort to get 40 million girls across the world into school. ”
Her Majesty also set out the Government’s green goals for the country.
She said: ” My Government will invest in new green industries to create jobs, while protecting the environment.
“The United Kingdom is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will continue to lead the way internationally by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. Legislation will set binding environmental targets.
“Legislation will also be brought forward to ensure the United Kingdom has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare.”
Royal Family Live: The Queen was accompanied by Charles and Camilla (Image: BBC)
11.47am update: Queen ends her speech
11.43am update: Queen continues
She said: “Measures will be brought forward to establish a fairer immigration system that strengthens the United Kingdom’s borders and deters criminals who facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys.”
She added: “My ministers will promote the strength and integrity of the union.
“Measures will be brought forward to strengthen devolved Government in Northern Ireland and address the legacy of the past.”
Among the 25 bills announced in the speech, the Queen pledged to bring through laws to recover lost-learning due to the pandemic.
The Queen said: “Measures will be brought forward to ensure that children have the best start in life, prioritising their early years.
“My ministers will address lost learning during the pandemic and ensure every child has a high-quality education and is able to fulfil their potential.”
Royal Family Live: The Queen presents her speech (Image: Sky News )
11.38am update: The Queen outlines the increased spending for the country
In her speech, Her Majesty pledged the Government’s plans to increase spending across the country.
The Government will increase connectivity across the country as well as create freeports across the UK.
The Queen pledged the Government will help those purchase their own homes and help renters.
11.37am update: The Queen has begun her speech in the chamber
11.27am update: Queen departs from Buckingham Palace
The Queen has left Buckingham Palace ahead of the opening of Parliament today.
In a video released by the Royal Family, Her Majesty was seen leaving the palace in the state Bentley.
The Royal Family is bracing for a new blow amid fears the next season of The Crown will rake over the coals of more “drama”.
Princess Diana’s biographer said the next season of the hit Netflix show will feature the making of his groundbreaking book.
Andrew Morton, who in 1992 shook the palace with his biography of the Princess of Wales ‘Diana: Her True Story’, said the fifth season of The Crown will portray his secret partnership with Princess Diana while he was writing the book.
Speaking about the upcoming season of the show, Mr Morton told Insider it will include the “drama behind the making of my book”.
And, he added, the show will also feature Princess Diana’s 1995 BBC Panorama interview – during which she famously told Martin Bashir there were “three of us in this marriage”.
Royal Family live: The Queen will present her speech this afternoon (Image: GETTY)
Prince Charles will be gunning to set up a meeting with US President Joe Biden soon, especially after his talks with Donald Trump were “to no avail”, a royal biographer has claimed.
Prince Charles is “keen to discuss the world” with Joe Biden, according to a royal biographer.
Robert Jobson spoke to ITV’s Royal Rota podcast about the Prince of Wales’ ambitions in regards to the US President.
He also provided insight into why the upcoming G7 Summit in the southwest of England may provide a stage for this to happen.
The Queen has been described as incredibly caring by her goddaughter, in a rare chat about the monarch’s private life.
The Queen is “incredible”, her goddaughter Victoria Pryor said in a documentary marking the monarch’s 95th birthday.
Mrs Pryor, who is a great-niece of the Queen Mother, recalled the kindness the monarch and her mother have always shown to her family.
As a child, Mrs Pryor continued, she would always get a present from the monarch.
She said: “I always got a Christmas present. Always. I got a set of Winnie the Pooh books. I got Twister.”
Royal Family Live: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s timeline (Image: Express)
9.23am update: Queen to wear day dress instead of ceremonial robes
As part of the reduced Queen’s speech today, Her Majesty will wear a coat and a hat for the vent later this afternoon, according to the Daily Mail’s Rebecca English.
Like recent years, her crown will be carried separately and placed on a table in the House of Lords.
The Queen will address the nation in her first outing since the death of her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, royal author Hugo Vickers led a shining tribute to the duty and service of The Queen ahead of her annual address for the State Opening of Parliament.
Mr Vickers said: “The Queen is coming out to open Parliament basically about a month after the death of her husband.
“This is very reassuring because it shows that she is going to continue as our head of state.
“Keep busy, keep serving the nation. Exactly as she has done since 1952.”
Queen's Speech: What to expect from government’s agenda
Prince Harry is not currently talking to Prince William despite his recent visit to the UK for Prince Philip’s funeral, it is claimed.
The Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge were reunited last month as Harry made a brief return from the US to the UK to attend the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.
Nick Bullen, editor-in-chief and co-founder of True Royalty TV, told Us Weekly: "All of my sources tell me that they are not talking at the moment."
According to the royal expert, the pair would be on the right track to solving their purported rift.
Mr Bullen added: "It's pretty clear that the Duchess of Cambridge was doing her best to build the bridges.”
Prince Charles has paid tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh with a touching nod in his latest video message.
In a video address made during a virtual Iftar — the communal breaking of the fast, Prince Charles spoke out about the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: "This year so many families, like my own, will have an empty seat at their dinner table.
"The last year I know has been deeply challenging for us all, and I am only too aware of the impact of the pandemic on the Muslim community.
"This year so many families, like my own, will have an empty seat at their dinner table and friends will no longer be able to share the celebratory hug after Eid prayers.
"I can only say how deeply saddened I am by this tragic situation and how my heart goes out to all those who have lost their loved ones."
The Royal Family tree (Image: Express)
7.27am update: Queen set to deliver speech in break from tradition
Due to coronavirus, the Queen will deliver her speech with multiple restrictions applied to the event this afternoon.
Just 74 people will be present in the House of Lords chamber to witness the speech while 34 peers and MPs will watch from the Royal Gallery.
All attendees will also need to wear a mask and test negative for the virus beforehand.
There will also not be a horse-drawn carriage and instead, the Queen will travel in the state Bentley.
The military will also not be present today and therefore will not provide a guard of honour.
- Royal Arrival: It's a Boy! (PHOTOS)
- Royal maternity style through the years: From Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge to Queen Rania of Jordan
- Olympics: How the British Royals & a farcical finish shaped the course of marathon history in 1908
- Will and Kate will spend Christmas with the Middletons, royal officials say
- FACES AND PLACES: Queens Center Mall supplies back-to-school savings for families
- Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival marks nation’s 50 years of independence with food, music and fun
- Legacy of 2006 blackout yielding green projects in western Queens
- Lamar Odom's former mentors in Queens recall his early days playing basketball on playgrounds: 'We knew he was special'
- Three Queens teens cited as ‘Rising Stars’ by Parks Department
- Anti-abortion activists protest outside Choices Women's Medical Center in Queens
- Journey of love: Refugees who fled Sri Lanka amid civil war reflect on their new life together in Queens
- Community boards in Queens and Manhattan are first to translate meetings into Spanish
- Queens Borough President Helen Marshall supports tearing down 5Pointz to make way for residential towers
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to green Queens locomotives
- How the Royal Baby’s Birth Will Be Announced
- Kate Middleton in labor: Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William prepare to welcome royal baby
- Kate Middleton, Prince William welcome baby, His Royal Highness the Prince of Cambridge
- Kate Middleton a hit in first Christmas with Royals; Prince Phillip gets hospital visit from Princes William & Harry
- Kate Middleton, Prince William reveal royal baby’s name is George Alexander Louis
- Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, set to wed rugby player Mike Tindall
Queen makes announcement to the nation - royal tradition shattered have 5208 words, post on www.express.co.uk at May 12, 2021. This is cached page on Game Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.