State Opening: 18 November 2009

18 November 2009

One of the most colourful events of the parliamentary year, the State Opening of the new 2009-10 session of Parliament, takes place on 18 November.

The Queen formally opens Parliament and delivers the Queen's Speech - written by the Government - which sets out Parliament's working agenda for the coming year.

Quick timetable

  • Royal Procession: the Queen leaves Buckingham Palace in a carriage procession that makes its way through the streets to the Houses of Parliament.
  • Palace of Westminster: 11.15am (approx.): the Queen arrives at Sovereign's Entrance at the Houses of Parliament.
  • Queen's Speech: 11.30am (approx.) : the Queen reads out the speech from the throne in the House of Lords.
  • Motion for Humble Address: 2.30pm ( Commons) and 3.30pm ( Lords): the Queen is thanked for the speech and the Commons and Lords begin debating the Government's legislative programme over a series of days.

Please note that roads around the Houses of Parliament are subject to closure before the ceremony.

If you wish to watch the journey of the carriage procession from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament, you may be able to do this from street level either on the Mall or from Parliament Square.

Members of the public cannot attend the State Opening itself. However, members of the public can gain access to Parliament in the afternoon - when normal business resumes.

What happens after the ceremony?

In the afternoon, Parliament goes back to work - the new session begins.

Each House meets separately to begin debating the Government's programme of legislation and policies outlined in the Queen's Speech.

Find out what's on in both Houses on 18 November and beyond:

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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