Queen Elizabeth II Tuesday made her first public appearance as British head of state after the death of her husband of 73 years, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The monarch, who turned 95 on April 21, delivered the official Opening of Parliament speech. The traditionally large-scale event full of pageantry was scaled back considerably due to the covid-19 pandemic. The Queen wore a lavender day dress and a hat instead of the usual robes, the Imperial State Crown lying on a table next to her.
In a speech prepared by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet, the Queen said, My government's priority is to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier, and more prosperous than before.” Johnson’s Conservative Party made gains in regional elections late last week and is expected to press that advantage by pushing through reforms sidelined by the pandemic in the past year.
The Queen also outlined several bills the government hopes to pass during the next year on items from job creation and strengthening the National Health Service to stripping back post-Brexit bureaucracy.
Queen Elizabeth was accompanied at Parliament by her son and heir, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, both of whom sat directly next to her. It was the first time Charles has been seen publicly with his mother since Prince Philip's funeral.
The presence of the heir to the throne was of great importance following last week’s elections in Scotland where First Minister Nicola Sturgeon managed to pull together a voting majority to seek a new referendum regarding independence from Britain.
Sturgeon has even warned Johnson it shall not be a question of if, but when.”