Queen Elizabeth II formally opened a new session of Parliament this morning with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at her side.
The State Opening of Parliament forms the most colourful event of the Parliamentary year and is steeped in tradition and customs dating back centuries and also provides spectacular imagery.
The ceremony which also saw one of the Queen's page boys faint as the monarch outlined the government's proposed laws for the last time before the 2015 General Election.
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It used to take place in the autumn each year, but since 2010 it is usually scheduled for May thanks to the introduction of five-year fixed term parliaments.
This year, the Queen's speech was delayed to June to prevent a clash with the local and European elections, adding a major event to the 88-year-old Queen's which sees her carry out a state visit to France later in the week.