It was the 67th (and final) state opening carried out by Queen Elizabeth II.[1]

A State Opening of Parliament took place on 11 May 2021.[2] Queen Elizabeth II opened the second session of the 58th Parliament with the traditional Queen's Speech. The event was significant as it involved many restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.[3]


The parliament was elected at the 2019 general election. The Opening of Parliament was the Queen's first major royal duty since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, which occurred one month before.[4] This would be the last state opening the Queen would personally attend prior to her death in September 2022, as the then-Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, acting as Counsellors of State, stood in for the ailing Monarch for the last State Opening of Parliament of her reign in May 2022.

COVID-19 restrictions

The traditional horse drawn carriage in 2015

The ceremony was different from usual protocol, being the first since the COVID-19 pandemic began.[5] Only 74 people were allowed in the House of Lords when the speech was read, with a further 34 MPs and peers sitting in the Royal Gallery.[6] The Queen travelled from Buckingham Palace in a Range Rover instead of the traditional carriage.[7]



There were expected to be between 25 and 30 bills mentioned in the speech,[8] including bills related to rent reform and employment.[9] BBC News reported that the speech would include measures on adult social care, Northern Ireland veterans, asylum reform, the English planning system, fixed-term parliaments, and building safety regulations.[10]

Announced bills

The following new bills were announced in the speech:[11]

Further legislation will also introduce the government's "New Plan for Immigration" and deal with legacy issues relating to Northern Ireland.[11]

The Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill would repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, restoring the power of the monarch to dissolve Parliament and call a new election at the request of the prime minister,[12] while the Electoral Integrity Bill would introduce mandatory photo identification for voters at general elections,[13] as well as granting British nationals who have lived overseas for over 15 years the right to vote.[14] The Judicial Review Bill would allow courts to issue suspended quashing orders, giving the government time to correct errors before a quashing order comes into effect, and abolish the right to judicial review of Upper Tribunal decisions at the High Court of Justice.[15]

The Online Safety Bill would create a new statutory duty of care of online platforms towards their users, obliging them to remove both illegal and "legal but harmful" content, and empower Ofcom to block access to particular websites. In addition, the bill would prohibit social media networks from removing certain forms of user-submitted political content or discriminating against particular political viewpoints.[16]

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill would impose requirements for universities and students' unions to protect freedom of speech, allowing speakers to seek compensation for no-platforming, empowering the Office for Students to levy fines on infringing institutions, and creating a new ombudsman charged with monitoring cases of no-platforming and academic dismissals.[17]

Carried-over bills

In addition, the following bills were carried over from the 2019–21 legislative session:[18]


The Queen travelled from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster.[19] She was joined by her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.[20] The MP Marcus Jones was taken in the opposite direction as 'hostage' for the duration.[21]

The consort's throne was absent from the House of Lords during the event due to COVID-19 restrictions: though the Queen's consort Prince Philip had died on 9 April 2021, the throne was expected to be returned and occupied by Prince Charles at future State Openings.[22]


Members of Parliament debated the speech in the House of Commons afterwards.[23] A debate also took place in the House of Lords. Lord Lebedev made his maiden speech.[24]

On 19 May the motion on the address was passed by a vote of 367–264, with the Democratic Unionist Party supporting the government.[25]

See also


  1. ^ "Queen's Speech: What did she say at the State Opening of Parliament?". Independent. 11 May 2021. Archived from the original on 11 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Queen's Speech to be held on 11 May". GOV.UK. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Queen's Speech: What is it and why is it important?". BBC News. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Queen carries out first major royal duty since Philip's death". BBC News. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  5. ^ "First State Opening Of Parliament Since The Start Of The Pandemic Will Be Held On 11 May". Politics Home. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  6. ^ "The Queen's Speech: What is the Queen's Speech and the State Opening of Parliament?". BBC Newsround. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  7. ^ Puente, Maria. "Queen Elizabeth II opens Parliament in low-key ritual, first ceremonial duty since Prince Philip's death". USA TODAY. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Boris Johnson expected to announce more than two dozen new laws in the Queen's Speech next week". I. 3 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Seven laws promised in the last Queen's Speech haven't been delivered 16 months on". I. 3 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Queen's Speech 2021: What can we expect?". BBC News. 10 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  11. ^ a b "Queen's Speech 2021". 11 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  12. ^ Parkinson, Justin (12 May 2021). "Boris Johnson pushes for power to call election at any time". BBC News. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  13. ^ Geraghty, Liam (11 May 2021). "Voter ID: What does the new plan mean for voters?". The Big Issue. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  14. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa (11 May 2021). "Britons living abroad for more than 15 years to be given right to vote". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Planning, procurement and judicial review legislation to the fore in Queen's Speech". Local Government Lawyer. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  16. ^ Wakefield, Jane (12 May 2021). "Government lays out plans to protect users online". BBC News. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Universities could face fines over free speech breaches". BBC News. 12 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  18. ^ "Research Briefing: Queen's Speech 2021". House of Commons Library. 10 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  19. ^ Becquart, Charlotte (11 May 2021). "Charles supports his mother for Queen's Speech by holding her hand". CornwallLive. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  20. ^ Hill, Erin; Perry, Simon (11 May 2021). "Queen Elizabeth Opens Parliament with Prince Charles and Camilla by Her Side". People. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  21. ^ "This is why an MP is being held hostage at Buckingham Palace today". Dorset Echo. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  22. ^ Elston, Laura (11 May 2021). "Consort's throne missing from state opening". AOL. PA Media. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  23. ^ "As it happened: Queen's Speech and MPs debate". BBC News. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Queen's Speech Volume 812: debated on Wednesday 12 May 2021". Hansard. 12 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  25. ^ "Queen's Speech (Motion for an Address)". Archived from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.