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Queen's Speech to Parliament, 1952

The first State Opening of Parliament presided over by Queen Elizabeth II took place on 4 November 1952. This preceded her Coronation and was her first major state event. Large crowds gathered outside to catch a glimpse of the new monarch on the traditional royal procession to the Palace of Westminster. Making her speech from the throne in the House of Lords chamber, she began with a tribute to her late father. She wore a specially made Parliamentary robe of crimson velvet, trimmed with gold lace and lined with ermine.

Unlike Queen Victoria, who rarely attended the State Opening of Parliament after the death of Prince Albert in 1861, Elizabeth has been a constant presence at State Openings throughout her reign. The only exceptions have been in 1959 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew, and in 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Edward.