The State Opening of Parliament: When dissident acts become established acts

The History of Parliament

Today, the new Parliament will be officially opened. In his guest blog Steven Franklin (Royal Holloway, University of London) discusses the origins and development of the pageantry involved…

In 1863 Queen Victoria refused to open parliament, citing her ‘total inability…to perform these functions of her high position which are accompanied by state ceremonials, and which necessitate the appearance in full dress in public’.  Fortunately, the only comparison that can be made with today’s State Opening was the absence of the Imperial Crown and its associated regalia – the ‘full dress’ to which Victoria referred. Today’s ‘dressed down’ ceremony will lack much of the grandeur of previous state openings, a result of the snap election. This is the first time in 43 years that the normal ceremonial programme will be altered, the last, ironically, also a result of an unexpected general election. For, as wonderful as it is to witness…

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