The Queen's Body Guard
of the Yeomen of the Guar
d

Opening of Parliament
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The State Opening of Parliament marks the start of the parliamentary session.  It occurs when Parliament reassembles after a general election, and each subsequent year, in the November.  At 1130hrs Her Majesty is seated in the Royal Throne ready to deliver the Glorious Speech (Queen's Speech).  The speech is written however by theSearch Party 1901. First Opening of Parliament by Edward VII Prime Minister and Cabinet, and outlines the Government policies and legislative programme for the new Parliamentary session.  The speech is presented from the Throne in the House of Lords in the presence of members of both Houses, the Commons having been summoned to hear the speech by  'Black Rod'.  In a symbol of the Commons' independence, the door to their chamber is slammed in his face and not opened until he has knocked on the door with his staff of office.

However some hours of ceremony and tradition have been re-enacted prior to the speech's delivery.  A contingent of The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard carry out their search of the vaults of the Palace of Westminster.  Armed with swords and  their lanterns, possibly the same lanterns used by their predecessors four hundred and fifty years ago on morning 5 November 1605 when they thwarted the Gun Powder Plot, they march in single file along the passages and uneven staircases, beneath the Palace of Westminster ensuring that 'all is secure' for the ceremony to continue.     

The doors of the Palace are closed to the public from 1030hrs.  Invited guests have already taken their seats in the Royal Gallery to the left and right of the aisle waiting in anticipation for the grand procession.  The Honourable Corp of Gentlemen at Arms assemble at the top of the Sovereign's Staircase whilst The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard and a dismounted detachment of the Household Cavalry assemble in Royal Court.  At 1044hrs the Household Cavalry march in column through the Norman Porch and line the Sovereign's Staircase.  At 1047hrs The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard enter the Norman Porch in column and ascend the Sovereign's Staircase and enter the Royal Gallery.  The Body Guard is positioned at the sides of the Royal Gallery and will form a Guard of Honour for Her Majesty and The Sovereign's Procession.  At 1052 The Gentlemen at Arms move from the top of The Sovereign's Staircase, through the Royal Gallery and into the Prince's Chamber.  At the same time The Crown, the Cap of Maintenance and the Sword of State arrive at the Sovereign's Staircase.  At 1055hrs they are carried under escort up the Staircase and into the Royal Gallery.  At 1100hrs the Officers of Arms proceed from the Prince's Chamber to the Sovereign's Staircase.  At 1104hrs the Crown is borne by the Lord Great Chamberlain into the Robing Room.  At 1107hrs the Lord High Chancellor enters the Royal Gallery from the Prince's Chamber, joins the Lord Privy Seal at the top of the Sovereign's Staircase and then proceeds with him to the foot of the Staircase to await the arrival of Her Majesty.  At 1110hrs The Peers appointed to carry the Cap of Maintenance and the Sword of State enter the Royal Gallery from the Prince's Chamber.       

Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrives at the Sovereign's Entrance at 1115hrs.  Her Majesty is received by the Lord Great Chamberlain and the Earl Marshal and conducted thence to the Robing Room.  The Heralds and Pursuivants proceed to the Chamber of the House of Lords, entering through the doorway on the left.  The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod proceeds to Central Lobby. Those remaining in the leading part of the Procession proceed to the Royal Gallery.  Those in the rear part of the Procession assemble and halt at the entrance of the Royal Gallery. 

At 1120hrs The Cap of Maintenance and the Sword of State are handed to the Peers appointed to carry them, who then join the leading part of the Procession in the Royal Gallery. 

At 1127hrs Her Majesty, having put on the Royal Robes and wearing the Imperial Crown, enters the Royal Gallery and proceed in State to the Chamber of the House of Lords. 
 

The 18 May 2016 Procession:
 

Prince's Chamber and House of Lords


Direction of Travel

Procession

Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary
Alastair Bruce of Crionaich

Rouge Croix Pursuivant
John-Allen-Petrie Esq
Portcullis Pursuivant
The Hon Christopher Fletcher-Vane

Wales Herald Extraordinary
Thomas Lloyd Esq

Arundel Herald Extraordinary
Alan Dickins Esq

Norfolk Herald Extraordinary
David Rankin-Hunt Esq

Maltravers Herald Extraordinary
John Robinson Esq

York Herald
Peter O'Donoghue Esq

 

 

Richmond Herald
Clive Cheesman Esq

Somerset Herald
David White Esq

 

 

Windsor Herald
William Hunt Esq

Lancaster Herald
Robert Noel Esq

 

 

The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod
Lieutenant  General David Leakey

Norroy and Ulster King of Arms
Timothy Duke Esq

Clarenceux King of Arms
Patric Dickinson Esq

Serjeant at Arms
Ray Wheaton Esq
Serjeant at Arms
Brian Stanley Esq

Garter King of Arms
Thomas Woodcock Esq

 

 

The Lord President of the Council
The Rt Hon Christopher Grayling

The Lord Speaker
The Baroness D'Souza

The Lord High Chancellor
The Rt Hon Michael Gove

The Lord Great Chamberlain
The Marquess of Cholmondeley

The Earl Marshal
The Duke of Norfolk

 

 

The Sword of State
The Lord Walker of Aldrington

The Cap of Maintenance
The Baroness Stowell of Beeston
 

 

 

The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty

accompanied by

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

 

 

Page of Honour
The Hon Augustus Stanhope

Page of Honour
Thomas Hallé

Page of Honour
Lachlan Legge-Bourke

Page of Honour
Marquess of Lorne

Her Royal Highness
The Duchess of Cornwall
His Royal Highness
The Prince of Wales
Lady in Waiting
The Hon Dame Annabel Whitehead
Lady in Waiting
Lady Susan Hussey

The Lord Steward
The Earl of Dalhousie

Gold Stick in Waiting
Field Marshal
The Lord Gutherie of Craigiebank
The Master of the Horse
The Lord Vestey

The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach

 The Chief of the Air Staff
Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford
 The Chief of the General Staff
General Sir Nicholas Carter

The Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff
Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Woodcock

The Captain of the Yeomen of the Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard
The Lord Gardiner of Kimble
The Captain of the Honourable Corp of Gentlemen at Arms
The Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Baroness in Waiting to Her Majesty
The Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen

The Keeper of Her Majesty's Privy Purse
Sir Alan Reid

The Private Secretary to Her Majesty
The Rt Hon Christopher Geidt

 

 

The Comptroller of Her Majesty's Household
Gavin Barwell Esq

The Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household
The Rt Hon Anne Milton

 

 

Equerry in Waiting to Her Majesty
Wing Commander
Sam Fletcher RAF

Equerry in Waiting to Her Majesty and
Acting Groom of the Robes
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Richards

 

 

The Comptroller Lord Chamberlain's Office
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Andrew Ford

The Private Secretary to HRH The
Duke of
Edinburgh
Brigadier Archie Miller-Bakewell

The Master of the Household of TRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall
The Earl of Rosslyn

Clarenceux King of Arms, Norray and Ulster King of Arms, the Serjeants at Arms, the Ladies in Waiting enter the Lords Chamber through the doorway on the left, the remainder of the Procession entering through the doorway on the right.

At 1130hrs Her Majesty being seated on the Throne, the Peer bearing the Cap of Maintenance stands on the right and the Peer bearing the Sword of State stands on the left of Her Majesty, on the steps of the Throne.  The Lord Chancellor, the Lord Privy Seal and the Earl Marshal stand on the right of Her Majesty.  The Lord Great Chamberlain stands on the steps of the Throne, on the left of Her Majesty, to receive the Royal Commands.  The Officers of Her Majesty's Household arrange themselves on each side of the steps of the throne in the rear of the Great Officers of State

The Queen is not allowed to enter The House of Commons (the Chamber where elected Members of Parliament deliberate) so Her Majesty commands the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod (Black Rod) to proceed from Central Lobby to summon the Speaker and Members of the House of Commons to the Bar of the House of Lords.  Upon their arrival, the Lord High Chancellor presents The Queen with The Glorious Speech that has been kept safe in his Woolsack;  The Glorious Speech, which sets out Government policy for the coming year, is read by Her Majesty.

When Her Majesty retires, the Procession returns through the Royal Gallery in the same order as before.  Her Majesty proceeds to the Robing Room and removes her robes.  Her Majesty is then conducted to the State Carriage by the Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain, preceded by the Officers of Arms.  As soon as Her Majesty has departed, the Crown, the Cap of Maintenance and the Sword of State and carried under escort to the Sovereign's Entrance.  Her Majesty's Judges proceed through the Royal Gallery to the Sovereign's Entrance. The Gentlemen at Arms, having handed in their axes, proceed to the Norman Porch followed by the Yeomen of the Body Guard.  The Household Cavalry close and dismiss.    

Taken from The Ceremonial to be Observed
At the Opening of Parliament signed by
Earl Norfolk, Earl Marshal

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Last modified: Tuesday, 19 August 2014 18:23