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The State Opening of Parliament 

The UK general election took place on Thursday 4 July 2024. The new Parliament met on Tuesday 9 July 2024 for the election of the Speaker and swearing-in of MPs and Lords. The State Opening of Parliament and The King’s Speech will take place on Wednesday 17 July 2024.

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Sonvae - Sierra Leone

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My father was born in Sierra Leone, and worked as a sailor in the Merchant Navy, travelling back and forth from Africa to the UK during the Second World War.

During a visit to the UK, he fell in love with my mum, and my parents settled in East London, where I was born.

I have been lucky enough to work in Parliament as part of the Banqueting Team since 1997. I love meeting people and never forget an order, or how someone likes their coffee – even when it is a year between visits. I think it’s one of the reasons why regulars seek me out for a chat.

I think of Parliament as a microcosm of the Commonwealth, because the staff are like a family of people who have roots across the world.