It is the first time in seventy years that a speech from the throne has been delivered by a king. In recent decades there has always been a ‘Queen’s Speech’ when Queen Elizabeth was on the throne. Charles stepped in last year for his mother, who would die a few months later at the age of 96.
The actions of 74-year-old Charles are being closely monitored. According to British media, he will probably have to announce government plans that he personally does not support. This concerns, for example, the rollback of environmental regulations.
It is not only Charles’ first speech from the throne, but also the first time that ceremony has been held since Rishi Sunak took office as prime minister. His Conservative Party is far behind in the polls in the run-up to the elections and he is under pressure to turn the tide.
The speech from the throne is accompanied by all kinds of ceremonial steps. For example, the basement of parliament is being searched to see if there are any explosives there. This reflects on the ‘gunpowder plot’ (gunpowder conspiracy) from 1605, an attempt to blow up parliament.
Charles’ speech is expected at 11:30 am local time (12:30 pm in the Netherlands). A parliamentarian is therefore ceremonially taken hostage at Buckingham Palace to ensure the monarch’s safe return. The speech will be debated in parliament in the coming days.