State Opening of Parliament scaled back due to Covid

In a normal year, tomorrow’s State Opening of Parliament would be the most colourful event of the parliamentary calendar – but pomp and ceremony has been reduced to prevent any spread of coronavirus.

The Commons and Lords chambers would be packed with about 600 politicians, peers and diplomatic guests for the Queen’s Speech, but only 74 people will be allowed in the main Lords chamber, with a further 34 MPs and peers watching from the Royal Gallery.

Everyone there will have to test negative for Covid beforehand and wear a mask.

The Queen will travel from Buckingham Palace in a Bentley state limousine rather than by carriage, as is traditional.

There will be no members of the military lining the streets outside, or guard of honour to greet her on her arrival at Westminster.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, who would normally hand the speech to the Queen in his role as lord chancellor, will instead place it on a table.