Queen to carry out first public ceremonial duty since death of Prince Philip

The Queen will carry out her first major public ceremonial duty since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh when she attends the State Opening of Parliament later today.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will accompany the monarch to the ceremony, where she will mark the beginning of the parliamentary session by delivering the Queen’s Speech to set out the Government’s legislative plans.

The ceremony will be significantly scaled back to ensure it is Covid secure.

The Queen will travel from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster in a car, rather than a carriage, and will be wearing a day dress and hat.

The Imperial State Crown, made of more than 3,000 gemstones and weighing two pounds and 13 ounces, will be carried on a cushion and placed on a table, as in recent years.

The Imperial State Crown is carried through the Sovereign’s Entrance. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA

There will be no military street liners or lining of the Sovereign’s staircase. There will also be no military band nor Guard of Honour outside the Palace of Westminster or as part of the procession from Buckingham Palace.

The Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland will place the speech on a table, rather than handing it directly to the Queen as is the custom.

There will be a significantly reduced number of politicians and peers in attendance for today’s ceremony – just 108, rather than the usual 600.

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.

Charles and Camilla will be in the chamber. Credit: PA

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

Prince Philip, who died aged 99 on April 9, spent decades accompanying the monarch to the ceremony.

Charles has been at his mother's side for the last three state openings - in December 2019, October 2019 and in June 2017.

He stepped in for Philip in 2017 after he fell ill with an infection, two months before he retired from public duties.

The Queen has formally opened each new session of Parliament on all but two occasions during her 69-year reign – in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.