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State Opening Light

In March 1974, Parliament was opened by the Sovereign with less than the customary pageantry, due to a concentration of general elections. The Queen ended a foreign tour at short notice to open Parliament.

This letter written by Black Rod, explains that the Queen will arrive by car, that guests should wear day dress and hat and that robes would not be worn in the Chamber

This wasn't the first time that State Opening was dressed down, between 1917 and 1919 and 1939 and 1949, Parliament was opened by the Sovereign with less than the customary pageantry.