The government has cancelled the 2018 State Opening of Parliament, as they extend the parliamentary session to two years in order to deal with Brexit. This means there will not be a Queen’s speech in 2018.
Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the Commons, announced the government’s decision yesterday. The new parliamentary session will last two years, in order to allow Parliament to “work together to deliver a successful Brexit deal”.
This means that 2018 will not see the traditional speech by The Queen, which lays out the path the government aims to follow over the coming year. This move will undoubtedly disappoint royal fans, given that the ceremonial state opening of Parliament is a key event in The Queen’s calendar.
The event also offers a rare glimpse of the dazzling Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State, worn by The Queen on her coronation day in 1953.
History of the State Opening of Parliament
The Monarch’s presence at the official Opening of Parliament has been a tradition since the 14th century. Despite noticeable changes, the royal procession and speech have played a key part in the event for centuries. The current ceremony first took place in 1852, to mark the opening of the new Palace of Westminster.
Queen Elizabeth II has only missed the State Opening of Parliament twice, in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively. The last time the event was cancelled was in 2011, under the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition. To find a previous cancellation of the State Opening, you have to go all the way back to 1949!
This drastic move follows the uncertainty surrounding this year’s speech, originally set for today, Monday 19th June. However, with the Conservatives failing to secure a sufficient majority in the General Election, and the continuing talks with the DUP, the 2017 ceremony will instead take place on 21st June.
This might mean a dash from London to Windsor for Her Majesty to enjoy Royal Ascot – one of her favourite events.