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Queen's Speech 2017: The Strangest Customs, Including Dennis Skinner’s Ritual One-Liner

And 7 other downright bizarre things that happened.

21/06/2017 16:34 | Updated 21 June 2017

No offence to Her Majesty, after all she doesn’t even write it...

..but the actual Queen’s Speech is pretty boring.

However, the pomp and procession around it is gloriously bonkers and British, with plenty of ancient rituals, weird customs and frankly bizarre traditions.

Let’s begin with the journey to the palace:

1) If you thought austerity was over... the crown got its own ride

PA Wire/PA Images
Hey, we seem to be missing someone? The crown arriving for the State Opening of Parliament

You might not believe it but this year’s State Opening of Parliament was actually something of a scaled-down affair.

In the past, the Queen has always arrived in an ornate golden carriage.

But it seems austerity is even biting in the Palace of Westminster:

Not a steed or £28 million golden carriage in sight.

2) An MP was actually taken hostage at Buckingham Palace

Unfortunately, it’s not as exciting as it sounds but is instead a symbolic kidnapping to ensure nothing happens to the Queen while she’s in Parliament.

fazon1 via Getty Images
Hope he's alright in there...

This year it’s the turn of Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, to sit around drinking tea.

3) There was a search for any gunpowder hidden in the cellars

PA Archive/PA Images
Not sure a flame lamp is the best idea if there's any gunpowder kicking around down there lads

It’s now been 411 years since the event and Guy Fawkes still makes the Yeomen of the Guard a bit twitchy so they search the Palace of Westminster looking for gunpowder.

With candles ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thankfully the Metropolitan Police also do a search more suitable for the 21st century

4) Despite holding an impressive black rod, this poor guy was humiliated

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Poor old Black Rod

The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod (real name David Leakey) has a bit of a rough time during the whole thing, to be honest.

All he wants to do is kindly escort the MPs from the House of Commons to the House of Lords and every single year he gets the door slammed in his face. This is to symbolise the independence of the Commons but still, it’s gotta hurt.

He then has to knock three times with - you’ve guessed it - his black rod before the bolshy MPs follow him across. 

5) He also gets the piss taken out of him every year by Dennis Skinner

The veteran Labour MP heckles Black Rod almost every year.
This year he went with:

This was a reference to the fact the the Queen was due to attend day two of Royal Ascot this afternoon

Skinner’s jokes are as traditional as the Queen’s attendance at the race. Here are seven of his best, and some recent examples..

2014 - “Coalition’s last stand.”

2013 - “Royal Mail for sale. Queen’s head privatised.”

2012 - “Jubilee year, double dip recession, what a start.”

 

6) All the MPs seemed to hold hands with the Speaker for just a little too long

After swearing their official oath or affirmation to confirm them as a member of Parliament, each MP goes up and shakes the hand of the Speaker.

John Bercow tends to hold on for quite some time though. Little bit longer than seems comfortable tbh.

7) Can we talk about the outfits for a minute?

 

PA Wire/PA Images
Vivienne Westwood, eat your heart out
PA Wire/PA Images
Nice hairdos there guys
PA Wire/PA Images
That awkward moment when you turn up in the same outfit as the rest of the gang

 

8) The Queen got absolutely no say on her own speech

PA Wire/PA Images
The Queen reads out 'her' speech

No matter how much she hates what it says, the monarch still has to read it out.

 

To be fair, we can see why people make fun of us.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s meeting during the State Opening of Parliament looked absolutely toe-curling, as the pair had to walk side by side to go and hear the Queen’s Speech.

The prime minister and the Labour leader endured what felt like the world’s longest walk as they exited the Commons for the House of Lords to hear the monarch.

And while Boris Johnson and Emily Thornberry appeared to be having a lovely chinwag, the party leaders exchanged only a terse few words.

The neutral BBC left it to its viewers to decide what the body language meant.

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