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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.

State Opening 

The State Opening of Parliament is the main ceremonial event in the parliamentary calendar and marks the start of the parliamentary year. 

This year's ceremony is a reduced, COVID-secure event.

State Opening: how it happens

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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

View images of State Opening on House of Lords Flickr

Queen’s Speech 

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.  

Watch the Queen's Speech on Parliament TV or read the transcript in House of Lords Hansard.

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 is broadcast live on Parliament TV and a livestream of the Queen's Speech will be on House of Lords Twitter from 11.25am.


State Opening 2021 is a COVID-secure event, with an adapted and reduced ceremony, fewer attendees and no guests.

Further information 

Image: Eddie Mulholland / Telegraph / NPA