Black Rod, the Crown and a Hostage: the Strangest Traditions of the Queen’s Speech

For the first time since 1963, Queen Elizabeth will not read the Queen’s speech today.

Instead, Prince Charles will deliver the address and open Parliament with the help of his son Prince William, as the monarch is experiencing “episodic mobility issues”.

It is “only the third time in her reign” that she has failed to read out the government’s plans for upcoming legislation, she said Sky news. She missed the opportunity in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant.

Even so, the state opening will be surrounded by pageantry and celebration – and the very unusual traditions that often astound viewers.

Centuries-old traditions

Traditions surrounding the opening of state and the monarch’s speech can be traced back to the 16th century. “It is the only regular occasion when the three components of Parliament – the sovereign, the upper house and the lower house – meet,” he said Side? site.

The usually lavish ceremony revolves around the Queen’s Speech, which is written by the Government outlining the policies and laws she intends to pass.

The Queen

The customs surrounding the opening of the state stem from the age-old tug-of-war between monarchy and parliament and symbolize the balancing act between the two.

“In terms of over-the-top spectacles, the State Opening of Parliament is at the top,” he said The Washington Post.

Explosives and a hostage

First, the Queen’s Yeomen of the Guard ceremoniously check the basements of the Palace of Westminster for explosives in commemoration of Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder attack on James VI and I in 1605.

Meanwhile, according to a custom dating back to the execution of Charles I at the end of the Civil War, an MP is being held “hostage” at Buckingham Palace should anything happen to the monarch.

“Although they are not really locked up, they are definitely not allowed to go,” because if anything happens to the monarch, the MP said the same thing will happen buzz feed.

Labor MP Jim Fitzpatrick, who was the hostage in 2014, wore a top hat, tails and striped trousers, said so once BBC: “When I expressed my concern to the Chief of the Armed Forces, he said, ‘If anything had happened to Her Majesty Jim, we would have done it quickly. We would have just shot you.” And I don’t think he was kidding.”


Once it has been proven that there is no threat to the monarch, the king or queen normally departs from Buckingham Palace in a carriage drawn by four horses, while a 41-gun artillery salute is fired from both the Tower of London and Hyde Park will. The imperial state crown and insignia drive ahead in their own carriage.

Although the Queen will not attend today, the Crown will still travel to Parliament.

Once inside

At Westminster, the monarch usually dons robes and the Imperial State Crown before taking his place on the throne in the Lords’ Chamber.

According to Sky News, today “the Queen’s throne will remain empty” in the House of Lords, with Prince Charles and his wife Camilla taking their usual seats.

“The Prince of Wales will be in his Admiral of the Fleet uniform and Prince William will be in his dressing gown,” the broadcaster added.

Black Staff

Next in the spotlight is Black Rod, the usher who takes his name from the ebony staff they carry, which bears the Anglo-Norman phrase “Honi soit qui mal y pense” – “shame on him who thinks evil”.

They are dispatched by the monarch to summon MPs – who have been known to slam Parliament’s door on them to symbolize the Commons’ independence from the head of state. Only if Black Staff After three knocks, the deputies open the door and then the two of them stalk behind them “in a boisterous manner,” again to signal their independence – another tradition dating back to Charles I, who tried to arrest five deputies in 1642.


Afterwards, peers and MPs listen to the speech and the government. The king or queen usually walks to the sound of military trumpets and the Union Flag is returned to position – the royal standard flies during the actual ceremony.

Eventually the MPs calm down and argue about the speech itself. And so Parliament begins. Black Rod, the Crown and a Hostage: the Strangest Traditions of the Queen’s Speech

Fry Electronics Team

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