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

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<p>The Queen leaving Buckingham Palace today</p> (REUTERS)

The Queen leaving Buckingham Palace today


The Queen will carry out her first major public ceremonial duty since the death of Prince Philip at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday.

It marks Her Majesty’s first engagement outside of Windsor Castle and first official public appearance, in her role as head of state, since the death of her beloved husband of 73 years.

The usually grand State Opening of Parliament is a heavily choreographed and costumed ceremony but in a break with tradition, the 2021 ceremony will involve face masks, social distancing, and fewer guests.

The key elements of the Queen’s speech are expected to take place between 11am and 12.30pm and normally last about 10 minutes.

The Duke of Edinburgh spent decades accompanying the Queen to the grand event before he died on April 9 aged 99. Appearing side by side, the royal couple would attend the ceremony seated on majestic gold thrones.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the State Opening of Parliament in 1967PA Archive
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the State Opening of Parliament in 1967PA Archive

On Tuesday, the Queen will outline a raft of new laws Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes will help him fulfil his promise to tackle inequality and “level up” the country.

Her Majesty will list the government’s areas of focus which is expected to include legislation on the environment, job creation and health and social care.

“These new laws are the rocket fuel that we need to level up this country and ensure equal opportunities for all,” the Prime Minister said in a statement prior to the Queen’s speech.

“We know that having the right skills and training is the route to better, well-paid jobs.”

Mr Johnson’s agenda has been eclipsed by the pandemic in the 18 months since the Conservatives were re-elected, which has absorbed much of his government’s resources in forming policy.

The Queen’s speech, written by the government and delivered by the monarch, will set out reforms of the education system.

This will include those to help adults access life-long learning, seen by ministers as key to reshaping the British labour force and making it better placed to adapting to new technologies in areas such as climate change.

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