Offices and Ceremonies: Overview

Lord Speaker

The Lord Speaker presides over the Lords chamber and is an ambassador for the work of the House

Lord Chancellor

Originated as secretary to medieval Kings, accumulated executive, legislative and judicial powers until its reform in the 21st century

Clerk of the Parliaments

The most senior official in the House of Lords and its Chief Executive

Black Rod

An official with an ancient pedigree, Black Rod is in charge of security and ceremonies in the House of Lords

The Speaker

The Speaker chairs debates in the House of Commons and is its official representative at home and abroad

Speaker’s Office staff

Given the antiquity of the Speakership and the Speaker’s important functions, it is no surprise that a group of close assistants to the Speaker with long histories of their own emerged.

Chairman of Ways and Means

The principal Deputy Speaker with distinctive, traditional responsibilities for presiding over budget debates

Clerk of the House

The most senior official in the House of Commons and its Chief Executive

Serjeant at Arms

The Serjeant at Arms is responsible for security, access and ceremonies in the House of Commons

State Opening

A magnificent occasion that brings the three parts of Parliament together and marks the start of a new session

Prorogation

The formal ceremony in the House of Lords that marks the end of a parliamentary session

Speaker's Procession and Lord Speaker's Procession

Formal processions by officials to the chambers before the start of parliamentary business.

Lyings-in-State

Held in Westminster Hall upon the death of a Sovereign, Royal Consorts and sometimes Prime Ministers