The Most Glorious Photos From Today’s State Opening of Parliament

Queen Elizabeth Smiling George IV State Diadem

Stephen Lock / i-Images

Today was yet another example of what Great Britain does best, putting on a display of pomp and pageantry as Her Majesty took part in her 62nd State Opening of Parliament.

 

“The State Opening of Parliament marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Queen’s Speech sets out the government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation,” the UK’s official Parliament site explains.  “It is the only regular occasion when the three constituent parts of Parliament – the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons – meet.” 

Believed to have been held since the 16th century, the State Opening of Parliament sees the Queen in full regalia as she wears the George IV Diadem en route to Parliament, where she then dons the Imperial State Crown and Robe of the State before taking her seat before a hall full of politicians, reading a speech prepare by the government.  She also wears the coronation jewels, a set of earrings and necklace originally made for Queen Victoria by Garrard, according to Order of Splendour.

 

The Duchess of Cornwall wore the Boucheron tiara, a favorite of hers once own by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.  According to The Court Jeweller, this tiara was originally made for a woman not of royal blood who regularly entertained the Queen Mum and King George VI.  She left all of her jewelry to Elizabeth, including this honeycombed tiara.

Camilla Duchess Cornwall Boucheron Tiara State Opening Parliament

Stephen Lock / i-Images

Then there is the crown jewel of the monarchy (literally).  The Imperial State Crown is one of the most stunning pieces in the world, weighing over two pounds and covered in priceless stones.

 

Before her 1953 coronation, the Queen practiced wearing it on her head during bath time with Prince Charles.

Last year, it was rumored that courtiers were concerned about the weight bearing down on the 89-year-old monarch, causing back problems.  The Daily Mail reported that attempts to convince Her Majesty to wear a tiara, which She has never done during a State Opening of Parliament before, would be made in the future.

The Garrard-made crown, according to the Royal Collection, is made up of:

2,868 diamonds (a variety of table, rose and brilliant-cut ) in silver mounts

Colored stones in gold mounts, including 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls

The largest stone, set in the center of the crown, is called the Cullinan II, cut from the Cullinan Diamond.  

The State Crown is not owned by Her Majesty. Instead, all of the Crown Jewels are held in her custody so long as she is monarch.  They will then pass to her heir, or whomever ascends to the throne.

Royal reporter Richard Palmer tweeted that the Queen has only missed two State Openings during her reign, in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Princes Andrew and Edward, respectively.

5 thoughts on “The Most Glorious Photos From Today’s State Opening of Parliament

  1. DIana says:

    Amazing. Many of these are on display at the Tower of London, right? I feel like I’ve seen at least the Imperial State Crown there (which was my main reason for visiting the Tower).

    • Kelly says:

      Yes! And what’s even cooler is that when the crown jewels are in use, there is an empty spot where they should be, despite visitors coming in and out.

  2. Alpa says:

    qe2 is a very good queen, and i think charles will be a very good king. however, i have grave concerns!:
    when charles is king will we no longer see the jewels (such as the coronation jewels) and tiaras we see with a female monarch?

    or are the coronation jewels so called because elizabeth wore them for her coronation, not because they can only be worn at coronations and state events by the head of state?

    • Kelly says:

      Great question! I don’t believe the pomp, pageantry and priceless jewels will go away. On the contrary, I think they’ll grace the heads, ears and necks of Camilla, Catherine and young Charlotte (some day).

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