State Opening of Parliament

The King travels from Buckingham Palace to Westminster along the Royal Route using the Irish State Coach drawn by four horses and is escorted by members of the Household Cavalry for the State Opening of Parliament.

The parade, led by a one hundred strong Guard of Honour from the Foot Guards, is accompanied by military bands.

Street Liners guard the entire route and present arms as the Royal Procession passes.

The Queen travelling to the Palace of Westminster by coach

State Opening Dates

The State Opening of Parliament normally takes place on the first day of a new parliamentary session or shortly after a general election.

The next State Opening is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 7 November 2023
As this is will be the first State Opening by HM King Chalres III, as Monarch, will publish details of changes to the procession as soon as they are confirmed and share the information on the social media channels below.

The King's Regalia

A solitary carriage, usually the Queen Alexandra's State Coach, with a special mounted escort of a Corporal of Horse and six Troopers from the Household Cavalry carries the Regalia.

Having been collected from the Jewel House at the Tower of London, they are taken to Buckingham Palace and then escorted to Westminster for use at the State Opening of Parliament.

Queen's Regalia traving to the Palace of Westminster

State Opening Of Parliament Ceremony

The ceremony takes place in the House of Lords and the Commons are summoned to hear 'The king's Speech from the Throne', formally opening the next session of her Parliament and setting out the policies of His Government.

As The King moves up the Royal Staircase to the Robing Chamber he passes between two lines of dismounted troopers of the Household Cavalry in full dress with drawn swords.

Known as a Staircase Party , this is one of the occasions the Household Cavalry exercise their privilege of being the only troops allowed to bear arms within the Royal Palaces.

State Opening of Parliament Timetable

  • Royal Procession: The King leaves Buckingham Palace in a carriage procession that makes its way through the streets to the Houses of Parliament

  • Palace of Westminster: 11:15 (approximately) The King arrives at Sovereign's Entrance at the Palace of Westminster

  • King's Speech: 11:30, (approximately), The King reads out the speech from the Throne in the House of Lords

When the speech has been delivered the Royal Procession re-forms and leaves the Chamber, returning shortly afterwards in a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace.

Watching the State Opening

The King, escorted by the Household Cavalry, travels by horse drawn coach from Buckingham Palace.

You can see the carriage procession from The Mall, the corner of St James's Park facing Horse Guards, Whitehall, Parliament Street, and Parliament Green.

At approximately 11:15 'The King' arrives at the Sovereigns entrance of the Palace of Westminster.

Visitor Tip

As The King will be sitting on the right hand side of the coach spots on the right hand side of the road will give the best views of His Majesty.

The Royal Route from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster

Getting to the Palace of Westminster

By Tube
Underground station closest to Houses of Parliament:
Westminster Station - District, Circle or Jubilee lines.
Westminster station is wheelchair accessible

By Train
Mainline stations closest to the Houses of Parliament:
Victoria, Charing Cross & Waterloo
Approximately 20 minutes walk

By Bus
Buses that stop near the Houses of Parliament:
Numbers: 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 77A, 211, 453 - low floor buses
Numbers: 88, 109, 159, 184, 511

By Car
Coming by car is not recommended. Road closures do take place.
Parking is expensive and extremely limited.
The Palace of Westminster is in the congestion charge zone.

Getting Around London

The Visitor Oyster Card is the cheapest and most flexible way to travel around London.

Valid on London Underground, buses, trams and the Dockland Light Railway (DLR).

  • Accepted everywhere: Use on most London public transport, including Tube, buses, tram, DLR, Overground and National Rail services in London
  • Flexible and reusable: Choose the credit you need. Use it again on your next trip to London or pass it on to friends or family
  • Save Money: Save up to 50% on your travels including journeys to Central London from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City Airport with a Visitor Oyster card
  • Save Time: Your card is ready to use as soon you arrive in London. Simply touch in and go

London Day Travelcard gives you access to unlimited travel on London Underground trains, buses, Docklands Light Railway, trams and overland trains within London.

  • Cheap: with one ticket you get unlimited travel, [ within the zones your Travel card covers], working out much cheaper than buying single tickets
  • Easy: Enjoy unlimited travel on London's public transport, including Tube, buses, Overground and National Rail services
  • Groups: If you are travelling in London with a group of 10 or more people, you can buy a Group Day Travelcard

History of the State Opening of Parliament

The current ceremony dates from the opening of the rebuilt Palace of Westminster in 1852 following the fire of 1834.

However, the tradition of the State Opening of Parliament and delivery of a speech by the Sovereign can be traced back at least to the 16th century.

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