State Opening of Parliament 2021
11 May 2021
The State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday 11 May marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Queen's Speech sets out the government’s agenda for the new session.
This year's ceremony is a reduced, COVID-secure event.
The timings for the 11 May State Opening are the same as in previous years: the main parts of the ceremony take place between 11am and 12.30pm.
Central to the ceremony is the Queen's Speech. Written by the government, it is read out by the Queen from the Throne in the House of Lords chamber. The speech contains an outline of government policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
Back to work
When the Queen leaves, a new parliamentary session starts and Parliament gets back to work. Both Houses agree an ‘Address in Reply to Her Majesty’s Gracious Speech’ and debate the content of the speech.
House of Commons debate
Members of the House of Commons debate the planned legislative programme for several days, looking at different subject areas. The Queen's Speech is voted on by the Commons.
House of Lords debate
The House of Lords debates the different subject areas of the speech over five days. After which, bills are introduced and the Lords returns to work shaping laws, holding the government to account and investigating important issues of the day.
State Opening ceremony
State Opening 2021 is a COVID-secure event, with an adapted and reduced ceremony, fewer attendees and no guests.
- Lords publications: State Opening of Parliament
- State Opening explained
- State Opening: timetable of events
- What happens after State Opening
- Watch the October 2019 State Opening of Parliament
Image: Eddie Mulholland / Telegraph / NPA