This might irritate some, but it shouldn’t. In reality it is all about reminding a people where they have come from, what their history is and how it has unfolded. It reminds them how it has given them the stable, even if imperfect, political system they – and much of the world – benefits from today.
Back Story, courtesy of the New York Times:
Queen Elizabeth II will announce Prime Minister David Cameron’s legislative program for the next year at the state opening of Parliament in London today.
Hours before her arrival, the royal bodyguards perform a ceremonial search of the basement of the Palace of Westminster, where the two houses of Parliament meet.
It’s a throwback to the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, when Guy Fawkes tried to murder England’s king and its ruling classes by blowing up the House of Lords.
Led by parading soldiers, the Queen arrives in a gilded carriage drawn by four Windsor Greys and guarded by coachmen who are still called bargemen because the monarch used to come by river.
Members of Parliament are ceremonially summoned to the House of Lords by her representative, known as the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.
In one of the more colorful rituals, he approaches the doors of the House of Commons, only to have it slammed in his face. The custom dates to the English Civil War and symbolizes Parliament’s independence from the crown.
Only after knocking three times with his ebony stick is he let into the chamber, where he announces, “The Queen commands this honorable house to attend her majesty immediately.”
Everyone then heads to the House of Lords, where the Queen recites the speech from her throne and wearing her diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown.
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