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Queen opens new parliament session
作者:佚名    文章来源:本站原创    点击数:10    更新时间:2019/12/21 (第12教学周)  

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10-second trivia-which of these items contains more than 2,800 diamonds, 269 pearls, and 4 rubies? Imperial state crown, Mask of Tutankhamun, Peacock Brooch or Crown Jewels of Ireland?

These jewels, in addition to 17 sapphires and 11 emeralds, are on Britain's Imperial State Crown.

It's traditionally worn by Queen Elizabeth II at the ceremonial state opening of parliament, but the 93-year-old monarch says she can't wear it while looking down-- like at a speech, for instance-- because the crown is so heavy it could break her neck. Still, the speech will go on. The queen's position is mostly symbolic in modern day Britain. The United Kingdom's governing power is largely in the hands of its Prime Minister and parliament. But the monarch is called upon from time to time to consult with political leaders and open new sessions of parliament. That happens Monday. It will include the queen's speech and an extraordinary display of British tradition.

ANNA STEWART: The state opening formally commemorates the beginning of a session of parliament. Steeped in tradition, this elaborate ceremony showcases British history, culture, and contemporary politics. The state opening is the only regular opportunity to unite the three elements of legislature -- the House of Lords, the House of Commons, and the Queen. The occasion is marked by a colorful series of events. It begins when the queen travels to the Palace of Westminster in a state coach, escorted by the Household Cavalry.

The Imperial State Crown, a supreme symbol of authority in the land, it gets its own carriage too. The queen arrives through the sovereign's entrance and then enters the robing room where she puts on the Imperial State Crown and royal robe. From there, she enters the royal gallery and joins the state procession. The procession enters the chamber of the House of Lords where the Queen takes the throne. At the command of the Queen, the official known as the Usher of the Black Rod is dispatched to fetch MPs from the Commons.


The door of the Commons is slammed in the usher's face. He then has to knock on the door three times to be allowed in. This is to symbolize the independence of the House of Commons. Once inside, Black Rod summons lawmakers to the Lords. Those MPs, the Black Rod usher, and Commons officials all make their way to the Lord's chamber, where they stand in the back. Members of the Lords, and guests including judges, ambassadors, and High Commissioners, will sit in the Lord's chamber.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: My Lords and members of the House of Commons.

ANNA STEWART: Then the Queen delivers her speech to members of both houses. Written by the government and approved by the cabinet, the speech lays out policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session. The Queen then departs the Lord's chamber, prompting the new session to start. Both houses then begin to debate the content of the speech. Members will continue debating over several days, looking at different subject areas each day. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
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