Queen Elizabeth II opened Britain’s Parliament Tuesday — sitting alone and foregoing her crown and robes during her first official ceremony since the death of her husband, Prince Philip.
The annual Queen’s Speech, in which she reads out the government’s legislative priorities at the ceremonial start of the new parliamentary session, was drastically pared down this year because of the pandemic.
It was also a painful reminder of the death last month of her husband of 73 years, Philip, who traditionally sits to her side.
Instead, his Consort’s throne had been removed, leaving the 95-year-old Monarch alone in her ornate Sovereign’s throne at the head of the House of Lords.
The queen — who was not wearing a mask — was escorted into the chamber by her eldest son, 72-year-old heir to the throne Prince Charles, who sat with his wife Camilla several feet to her left.
Her Majesty did not wear her crown, which was instead carried into the chamber ahead of her on a cushion.
She instead wore a lilac-colored hat matching her day dress that replaced the usual robes traditionally worn at the ceremony. The queen also arrived by car, rather than the traditional horse and carriage.
The queen, who is fully vaccinated, was the only one without a mask as she addressed her socially distanced audience, all of whom needed to have a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend.
She spoke slowly and deliberately as she outlined a package of about 30 bills, including ones aimed at fighting obesity, a public health crisis brought into painful focus by the pandemic.
“My government’s priority is to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous that before,” the queen said.
With Post wires