The Queen’s Speech takes place at the start of each Parliamentary session and forms the central part of the State Opening of Parliament. It sets out the government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session.
It is given in the presence of members of both Houses, the Commons being summoned to hear the speech by an official known as ‘Black Rod’.
Who writes the speech
Although the speech is delivered by the Queen, the content of the speech is entirely drawn up by the government and approved by the Cabinet.
What happens after the speech is given
Following the State Opening, the government’s programme is debated by both Houses. In the Commons the first motion is that the House send an address to the Queen thanking her for the speech.
The subsequent debate, which lasts several days, is a chance for MPs to speak on any matter of government.
What the process is
The State Opening of Parliament takes place when Parliament reassembles after a general election, and then at the start of each new Parliamentary session.
The Queen drives in state from Buckingham Palace to Westminster. The Imperial State Crown, the Sword of State and the Cap of Maintenance are transported to London by coach ahead of her. Only the monarch can call a Parliament together and no business can take place until the Queen reads her speech.