List of Queen's Speeches

The Queen's Speech is read by the Queen from the Throne in the House of Lords at the State Opening of Parliament. It is drawn up by the government, and contains an outline of the government's policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session.

State Opening explained

State Opening explained

Read more about how State Opening of Parliament works

State Opening of Parliament (PDF PDF 646 KB)

Related information

Prorogation (pro-ro-ga-tion): Term for the formal end of the parliamentary year.

Related internet links

Watch BBC Parliament's short film on the State Opening

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Sessions and parliaments

What is the difference between a parliament and a session?

A parliament can last a maximum of five years and runs from one general election to the next. Due to the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 the date of the next general election is 7 May 2015.

A session of Parliament runs from the State Opening of Parliament, in the past this has usually been in November through to the following November. However, in 2010 the Leader of the House announced the Government's intention to move towards five 12-month sessions over a Parliament, beginning and ending in the spring.

State Opening images

See a slideshow of images from previous State Openings.

State Opening: 2012-13 session

The State Opening for the 2012-13 session is on Wednesday 9 May 2012