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InsightState & CeremonialThe Queen

Will Her Majesty be absent from The Queen’s Speech?

It has been confirmed that this year’s Queen’s Speech has been delayed by a few days due to the Conservative Party failing to reach an agreement with Northern Ireland’s DUP. If an agreement cannot be made, then it is likely that The Queen’s Speech will not be passed resulting in another General Election.

But by delaying the speech, Her Majesty will inevitably have to miss Royal Ascot which will occur at the same time; or will she?

The Queen’s Speech was supposed to take place on Monday, June 19 – a day before the week-long Royal Ascot meeting takes place. Her Majesty attends each year without fail, and it is said that Royal Ascot is the first engagement to go in the Monarch’s diary each year because she enjoys it so much.

However, if the two events do collide in the diary, it is possible for Her Majesty to stay away from Parliament and go racing instead.

This has only happened on two occasions previously when The Queen was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward in 1959 and 1963.

When Her Majesty cannot personally deliver The Queen’s Speech, Lords Commissioners can open the session instead and give the speech by proxy.

The Lord Chancellor, David Lidington, would be the person tasked with reading out the speech which sets out the government’s agenda for the next parliamentary year.

Despite it being possible for The Queen to miss the occasion, it is very unlikely. However much Her Majesty enjoys the horse racing, she takes her role as Head of State very seriously and would consider missing the State Opening of Parliament as a dereliction of her duties.

That being said, with the Order of the Garter ceremony already cancelled because of government uncertainty, the decision to postpone The Queen’s Speech will not be taken lightly.