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The State Opening of Parliament

Each year the Sovereign drives in State to Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament and is accompanied by various elements of Household Division.

The ceremony takes place in the House of Lords and the Commons are summoned to hear 'The King's Speech from the Throne', formally opening the next session of his Parliament and setting out the policies of his Government.

The King travels from Buckingham Palace to Westminster along the Royal Route using the Irish State Coach drawn by four horses and is escorted by members of the Household Cavalry. Street Liners guard the whole route and present arms as the Royal Procession passes. The parade, led by a one hundred strong Guard of Honour from the Foot Guards, is accompanied by military bands.

A solitary carriage, usually Queen Alexandra's State Coach, with a special mounted escort of a Corporal of Horse and six Troopers from the Household Cavalry carries the Regalia which, having been collected from the Jewel House at the Tower of London, are taken to Buckingham Palace and then escorted to Westminster for use at the State opening.

As The King moves up the Royal Staircase to the Robing Chamber he passes between two lines of dismounted troopers of the Household Cavalry in full dress with drawn swords - one of the occasions when they provide what is known as a Staircase Party and exercise their privilege of being the only troops allowed to bear arms within the Royal Palaces.

When the speech has been delivered the Royal Procession re-forms and leaves the Chamber, returning shortly afterwards in a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace.