Queen’s speech: ‘Dressed down’ monarch to carry out first major engagement since death of husband Philip

The Queen will "still feel the steadiness" of Prince Phillip at her side during the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday, a royal expert has said.

It will be her first major engagement on the national stage since the death of her husband Prince Philip last month but Alastair Bruce, Sky News’ royal and national events commentator, says that after decades of being at her side she will still feel his "encouragement".

This year’s Queen Speech – part of the State Opening of Parliament ceremony in which the government outlines its priorities for the months ahead – will be a more pared down event, due to pandemic precautions.

Follow the Queen’s speech moment-by-moment

Normally, the ceremony begins with a procession, in which the Queen travels from Buckingham Palace to Westminster – usually by carriage.

It is one of the most colourful event of the parliamentary year and is steeped in tradition and customs dating back centuries.

Today, however, the Queen will arrive in a Bentley limousine, fewer people will attend and all will need to show a negative COVID test and wear a face covering.

It is also reported she will wear a "day dress" instead of the usual ceremonial robes to be "COVID appropriate".

But despite the restrictions Mr Bruce said it was a "key moment" for the Queen as head of state and "nothing would’ve stopped her from doing it".

He added: "The Duke of Edinburgh will not be at her side but she will have her son (Prince Charles) and daughter-in-law (Camilla) with her.

"It is a much-reduced event but it’s delivering that purposeful and punctuation-like constitutional moment before the start of the new session.

"Nothing would ‘ve stopped her from doing it.

"The Queen has seen people all over the country doing their duties – whatever they may be – and people going through a lot in losing people to COVID.

"For the Queen, to lose her husband was very sad, but he had lived a full life and had been constantly at her side so I think she will feel the steadiness of his encouragement today."

He said, her Majesty would have been given a copy of the speech last night and spent the evening rehearsing it.

The actual speech is presented to her on the day by the Lord Chancellor, who kneels in front of her at the throne steps.

She then she reads it out once the MPs from the House of Commons have arrived in the House of Lords.

Prince Philip, the nation’s longest reigning consort who died aged 99 on 9 April, spent decades accompanying the monarch to the grand occasion, sitting on an ornate golden throne at his wife’s side.

Significantly fewer politicians and peers will be there on Tuesday compared with previous years and no diplomatic or non-parliamentary guests have been invited, with just 108 people attending, including the Queen, rather than up to 600 as is the norm.

There will 74 people in the chamber, including the monarch, Charles, Camilla, the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer, representatives from the House of Lords and House of Commons and those involved in the ceremonial procession.

There will also be 17 members of the Lords and 17 MPs in the Royal Gallery.

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