Today is the State Opening of Parliament in London, this means the Queen comes to Parliament in Westminster to read the Speech from the Throne which is the legislative program of Her Government for the coming months. It is a way of announcing to all what Parliament will discuss and which bills will be studied.
We have the exact same formula in Canada, same ceremonial with small differences.
In Ottawa, the Governor General comes down Sussex Drive from his Residence at Rideau Hall in the State Landau with a mounted escort of the RCMP.
The Queen is 89 years old and the Duke of Edinburgh is 94. They both looked frail today. The Imperial State Crown weighs 5 lbs. or 4.3 Kg. Heavy if you have to wear it for 90 minutes. The train made of ermine is so heavy that it has to be carried by pages , the Queen would not be able to move forwards without them holding it up. She also must move forward while wearing the train because of the weight of it.
Prince Philip wears many decorations and I found out that he earned every one of them for his service during the Second World War in the Royal Navy. He wears the uniform of Admiral of the British Navy. The Queen’s gown is the same as in past years. She has a tendency now of wearing the same costumes instead of having new ones designed. She puts on the State Crown and the long train in the Robing Room which is some distance from the House of Peers (Lords) and is used only when the Sovereign comes to Parliament. I was told that she handles the Crown herself and makes sure it sits properly on her head, she is not helped with that.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arriving at Parliament, he now attends all Opening of Parliament since he has been delegated by the Queen some of her duties.
The protocol of the opening of Parliament reminds us of the stability of the institutions that govern us and our traditions. This is why I have, like so many other Canadians, a problem with our current Prime Minister Stephen Harper whose dislike of Parliament is well known. He does not see the point of the Institution, he has ignored Parliament and tried several times now to undermine it and the Constitution so that he can remain in power and impose his own right wing agenda. All our Institutions are under attack with Harper, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the Constitution, Parliament and the Charter of Rights. The general Federal Election is coming soon in October and it will not be too soon for many of us.