Today was yet another example of what Great Britain does best, putting on a display of pomp and pageantry as Her Majesty took part in her 62nd State Opening of Parliament.
“The State Opening of Parliament marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Queen’s Speech sets out the government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation,” the UK’s official Parliament site explains. “It is the only regular occasion when the three constituent parts of Parliament – the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons – meet.”
Believed to have been held since the 16th century, the State Opening of Parliament sees the Queen in full regalia as she wears the George IV Diadem en route to Parliament, where she then dons the Imperial State Crown and Robe of the State before taking her seat before a hall full of politicians, reading a speech prepare by the government. She also wears the coronation jewels, a set of earrings and necklace originally made for Queen Victoria by Garrard, according to Order of Splendour.
The Duchess of Cornwall wore the Boucheron tiara, a favorite of hers once own by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. According to The Court Jeweller, this tiara was originally made for a woman not of royal blood who regularly entertained the Queen Mum and King George VI. She left all of her jewelry to Elizabeth, including this honeycombed tiara.
Then there is the crown jewel of the monarchy (literally). The Imperial State Crown is one of the most stunning pieces in the world, weighing over two pounds and covered in priceless stones.
Before her 1953 coronation, the Queen practiced wearing it on her head during bath time with Prince Charles.
Last year, it was rumored that courtiers were concerned about the weight bearing down on the 89-year-old monarch, causing back problems. The Daily Mail reported that attempts to convince Her Majesty to wear a tiara, which She has never done during a State Opening of Parliament before, would be made in the future.
The Garrard-made crown, according to the Royal Collection, is made up of:
• 2,868 diamonds (a variety of table, rose and brilliant-cut ) in silver mounts
• Colored stones in gold mounts, including 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls
The largest stone, set in the center of the crown, is called the Cullinan II, cut from the Cullinan Diamond.
The State Crown is not owned by Her Majesty. Instead, all of the Crown Jewels are held in her custody so long as she is monarch. They will then pass to her heir, or whomever ascends to the throne.
Royal reporter Richard Palmer tweeted that the Queen has only missed two State Openings during her reign, in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Princes Andrew and Edward, respectively.