The Somerset Guardian, 12th May 2021

On Tuesday the Queen joined her Parliament for the State Opening.  Coming just over a month since the death of Prince Phillip, it was the largest in person public event that Her Majesty has been involved in this year and is symbolic not only of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions but also of the year in Parliament to come.
This is the 67th Parliament during the Queen’s long reign which, unlike her predecessor Queen Victoria, she has normally opened in person. It was a scaled back affair, owing to Covid-19 restrictions, without the traditional donning of the Imperial State Crown and robes that many are used to when tuning in to the event on television.  These restrictions meant that only the Speaker, invited party leaders and Government and Opposition Whips processed from the Commons to hear the speech delivered in the Lords.  I was rather lucky to have a place in the Queen’s procession in my role as Lord President of the Council. 
The Government legislative plan read out by the Queen was, in contrast, wide reaching and bold.  The Queen stated that her Government would “deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before.”  The Government will “strengthen the economic ties across the union, investing in and improving national infrastructure.”  The speech not only addressed the legacies of the pandemic, but also set out how the Government will go further to unite and level up the country, spreading opportunity across the country as we build back better.

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