The Queen’s Speech: Parliament Opens Amid Lavish Ritual

Queen Elizabeth II donned an ermine-trimmed robe and diamond-studded crown Wednesday for the annual opening of Parliament.

The Grenadier Guards await the departure of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace for the the opening of Parliament in London on May 18, 2016. The annual State Opening of Parliament is steeped in centuries-old symbolism of the power struggle between Parliament and the British monarchy. In a display of regal wealth and finery, the queen traveled from Buckingham Palace in the horse-drawn Diamond Jubilee State Coach, and delivered the speech -- written for her by the government -- wearing the Imperial State Crown. Andy Rain / EPA
Queen Elizabeth II departs Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Speech. Andy Rain / EPA
Yeoman of the Guard walk through the Sovereign's entrance before Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive at the Houses of Parliament. Dan Kitwood / AP
The Imperial State Crown, studded with 3,000 diamonds, arrives at the Royal Gallery before the State Opening of Parliament. Eddie Mulholland / AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip sit in the House of Lords ahead of the Queen's Speech. Chris Jackson / AP
Members of the Law Lords, Britain's senior judiciary, take their seats as they wait for the Queen's Speech. Alastair Grant / Pool via Reuters
Queen Elizabeth II delivers the Queen's Speech from the throne during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster. Since King Charles I tried to arrest members of the House of Commons in 1642 -- and ended up deposed, tried and beheaded -- the monarch has been barred from entering the chamber, so the speech is delivered in Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords. Arthur Edwards / Pool via Getty Images
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall greet people as they leave the Houses of Parliament after the State Opening of Parliament. Richard Pohle / Pool via Getty Images

Heavy rain hits the Mall as people wait for the queen to return to Buckingham Palace from the Houses of Parliament.

Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip return to Buckingham Palace after attending the opening of the Houses of Parliament in London on May 18.

Chris Ratcliffe / Getty Images