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State Opening of Parliament 2023

26 October 2023

The King and Queen process through the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords

The State Opening of Parliament took place on Tuesday 7 November marking the formal start of the parliamentary year and setting out the government’s agenda for the 2023-24 session.

This year, His Majesty the King opened Parliament for the first time as monarch.

The King's Speech

The speech was read in the House of Lords chamber by King Charles. 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?

State Opening: how it happens

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

Ceremonial search

The State Opening of Parliament starts with a ceremonial search of the cellars in the Houses of Parliament. This commemorates Guy Fawkes' ‘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 King’s Bodyguard.

Down to work

What is a session of Parliament?

After the speech, a new parliamentary session starts and Parliament gets down 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 King's Speech is voted on by the Commons.

Debate topics

Wednesday 8 November: breaking down barriers to opportunity

Thursday 9 November: making Britain a clean energy superpower

Monday 13 November: building an NHS fit for the future

Tuesday 14 November: securing high, sustained economic growth in every part of the country

Wednesday 15 November: reducing violent crime and raising confidence in policing and the criminal justice system

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.

Debate topics

Wednesday 8 November: home affairs, crime and justice, and devolution

Thursday 9 November: housing, health, local communities and public services

Monday 13 November: economy, transport, energy and the environment

Tuesday 14 November: science, technology, media and culture

Wednesday 15 November: foreign affairs and defence.

Catch up

Find out more

State Opening of Parliament

The State Opening of Parliament marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Monarch's Speech sets out the government's agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

Find out more