Ceremonies

1394-9
Westminster Hall – the site of many parliamentary ceremonies in the modern era – is rebuilt in its present form

1605
Gunpowder Plot in November, in which Catholics angered by their continued persecution were thwarted in their plan to blow up Parliament on its opening day, leading to the traditional search of Parliament’s cellars by the royal bodyguards

1641

Year in which ritual of Black Rod knocking three times on the Commons’ door before gaining admission began

1649

First time a Member of the Commons is held ‘hostage’ until the safe return of the Sovereign from the State Opening of Parliament

1679

Discontinuation of a mass at Westminster Abbey before the State Opening for fear by Charles II of assassination plots

1852

Beginning of the modern State Opening ceremony with new route and royal carriage

1854

The last time the Sovereign prorogued Parliament or gave the Royal Assent in person, and also the last time the Speaker made a speech at prorogation.

1898

First lying-in-state in Westminster Hall for Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone

1915-1919

State Openings of Parliament occur, but pomp and ceremony are scaled back during WWI