The State Opening of Parliament took place last Wednesday, the fourth of June. It’s one of the many traditions still mainatined in Britain, and marks the formal start of the parliamentary year. Her Majesty the Queen travels to Parliament to deliver the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s agenda for the coming session.
What made it particularly interesting this year was the new carriage in which she travelled. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach was designed by an Australian, Jim Frecklington, who worked in the Royal Mews as a young man. Although it looks as traditional as any other carriage in the Royal Collection, this one combines up-to-the-minute technology with the traditions of the past.
The gold crown which surmounts the whole thing is carved from oak from Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, and gilded. But it hides a 360-degree camera, to let the Queen view the procession as she rides along. Inside, the doors are inlaid with small square panels which include wood from Isaac Newton’s aplle tree, timber from the Western Front, part of aLancaster Bomber and even timber from a Bronze Age boat. The arm rests are made from hand rails from the former Royal Yacht Britannia, and beneath the seat is a fragment of the Stone of Scone, on which monarchs are traditionally crowned. And it is heated!
There are so many other features to find out about that I’ll need to link you to an article on the Daily Mail’s website http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2647757/The-Queens-new-palace-wheels-Wood-Newtons-apple-tree-A-bullet-Waterloo-Metal-Dambuster-Unveiled-today-carriage-thats-mobile-museum-history.html. Do take a look and let me know what you think – it’s absolutely astonishing what has been achieved here, to make a unique and permanent tribute to Britain’s history and monarchy.