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The Queens' Speech

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The Queens' Speech

Post  Panda on Wed 9 May - 17:46

London (CNN)-- Queen Elizabeth II laid outthe British government's plans forthe coming yearin a speech Wednesday marked by pomp and tradition.

In the speech scripted by politicians but readin the House of Lords bythe monarch, she said her ministers would reducethe deficit, strengthen regulation ofthe financial sector, work to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons and promote stabilityin Afghanistan.

The government will also acton proposals to force banks to splittheir retail andinvestment operations, she said.

The speech lasted about 10 minutes, less time than it took her to travel by carriage from Buckingham Palace to Parliament.

In keeping with custom, her crown madethe journeyin a separate coach, and she donned her royal regaliain the Robing Room ofthe Palace of Westminster,the official name forthe building where Parliament meets.

Who is Black Rod? Oncethe queen arrives for her annual speech, her official messenger, known asthe Black Rod, goes tothe House of Commons to summon lawmakers to her speech.

By tradition,the door is slammedin his face, and he is required to poundonthe door with his rod to getthe attention of members of Parliament.

The lawmakersthen followthe Black Rod tothe House of Lords, wherethe queen reads a speech written by politicians outliningtheir legislative priorities.

The monarch is not allowed to enterthe House of Commons, wherethe elected members of Parliament sit,in memory ofthe failed effort of King Charles I to arrest lawmakersin the 17th centuryonthe eve ofthe English Civil War.

Elizabeth is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year, marking 60 yearsonthe throne.

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