Thursday, December 7

Queen to dress down for parlament speech



The Queen’s massive 3-lb. crown will not adorn her head this year. On Thursday, the palace said there would be reduced ceremonial elements at the annual state opening of Parliament, which is set to take place on June 19 due to the recently called general election in the U.K.

That means the 91-year-old monarch will travel to Westminster Abbey by car (rather than horse-drawn carriage) -and for the first time since 1974, she will not wear a crown to the ceremony.

Because the state opening is taking place on June 19, the annual Order of the Garter parade and service at Windsor Castle – which sees Elizabeth lead plumed knights, including her grandson Prince William is being canceled.

Trooping the Colour, which marks the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday, will take place two days earlier.

Although the Queen will not wear her Imperial State Crown (which features a 317-carat diamond!), it will still appear at the state opening ceremony – carried in to the House of Lords by the officers of state along with the other instruments of state, the Sword of State and Cap of Maintenance.

The Garter ceremony at St. George’s Chapel and Windsor Castle marks one of the Queen’s favorite periods, the week of horse racing at Royal Ascot. But royal sources tell PEOPLE that it was important for the Queen to put the continuation of state business first.

The revised calendar means less ceremonial fanfare because it was felt that there would have to be state opening rehearsal during the early morning of June 16, followed by Trooping the Colour on Saturday and the actual state opening on Monday.

It was deemed that the ceremonial assets of carriages from the royal mews and horses and troops would be placed under too much strain given the accelerated timetable.