‘Casual’ State Opening of Parliament & Garter Day cancelled due to General Election

The State Opening of Parliament will be a more casual affair this year, without carriages or robes and crown, as it is scaled back due to its timing, and the Garter Day service has been cancelled.

The Queen will not wear her robes or the Imperial State Crown for the opening of parliament this year, due to the time constraints. House of Lords/Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire

Time constraints mean there is not enough time for ceremonial preparation. The postponed State Opening of Parliament will take place on 19th June – when Garter Day was scheduled to take place.

A statement from the Palace said:

As announced by government, The State Opening of Parliament will take place on Monday 19th June following the General Election.

To allow Her Majesty to attend in support of the parliamentary and constitutional process, The Queen’s programme of engagements has been revised.

As a result, the annual service for the Order of the Garter, which had been due to take place on 19th June, has been cancelled. Knights of the Garter and others due to attend have been informed. Additionally, owing to the revised calendar, the State Opening of Parliament will take place with reduced ceremonial elements.

The Queen will be ‘dressed down’ when she official opens the new session, following the snap General Election on 8th June; she will not wear the Robes of State, nor the Imperial State Crown, but her traditional day attire, including hat.

The Head of State will also not arrive in the traditional gold carriages, as the Army, taking part in Trooping the Colour on Saturday 17th June, will not have enough time to prepare and practise the processions and music in a way befitting the grandeur of the occasion.

For the first time since 1974, the Imperial State Crown will be carried into the Houses of Parliament, along with her sword of State and Cap of Maintenance. Ted Heath called a snap election that year leading to the same, surprise postponement of the opening.

Prince Charles and Camilla, who have attended the ceremony in recent years, are also not set to take part in the low-key affair, but The Duke of Edinburgh will be by Her Majesty’s side as usual.

The Queen will still give her speech outlining the government plans.

Garter Day usually takes place at Windsor Castle, the Monday following Trooping the Colour, and sees a procession of Knights and Dames of the chivalric order process from the Upper Ward of the castle to St George’s Chapel in the Lower Ward, in front of crowds. The members wear their long velvet robes and bonnets with ostrich feathers, harking back to the days of the Tudors.

The annual fixture, which celebrates the order and installs new members, has now been disrupted by an arguably insignificant event, which could have taken place on another date. This is an event which The Queen looks forward to each year, and is an opportunity for the public to see into the ancient heritage of the British Monarchy.

Her Majesty will still attend Royal Ascot later that week, and next year, service is expected to resume in its normal pomp and circumstance.

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