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State Opening of Parliament 2022

10 May 2022

The Prince of Wales reads the Queen's Speech in the House of Lords

The State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday 10 May marked the formal start of the parliamentary year and set out the government’s agenda for the 2022-23 session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

This year, Parliament was opened by HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and HRH Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, as Counsellors of State.

The Queen's Speech

The speech was read in the House of Lords chamber by the Prince of Wales. The speech is written by the government and contains an outline of its policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.

What is State Opening?

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

The timings for the 10 May State Opening were the same as in previous years: the main parts of the ceremony take place between 11am and 12.30pm. 

Ceremonial search

The Yeomen of the Guard proceed through the Lords chamber on their way to undertake the checking of the cellars. This is the first time the search has been led by a woman.
© UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor

The State Opening of Parliament starts with a ceremonial search of the cellars in the Houses of Parliament. This commemorates Guy Fawkes's ‘gunpowder plot' of 1605.

The ceremony begins in the Prince’s Chamber in the House of Lords. The search is conducted by the Yeomen of the Guard, the Queen’s Bodyguard. Today’s ceremony, pictured here, is the first time it has been led by a woman. 

Back to work

After the speech, a new parliamentary session starts and Parliament gets back to work. Members of both Houses 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.

Follow the events of the day

State Opening was broadcast live on Parliament TV. The ceremony was also streamed on the House of Lords Twitter feed and YouTube.

See photos and updates on Parliament’s social media channels:

Further information