View from Westminster: Diamonds were the most weighty aspect of the this year’s Queen’s Speech

Queen Elizabeth II proceeds through the Royal Gallery ahead of the State Opening of Parliament, in t

Queen Elizabeth II proceeds through the Royal Gallery ahead of the State Opening of Parliament, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 18, 2016. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Toby Melville/PA Wire - Credit: PA

It was lucky the Queen's Speech was brief. The weight of 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and five rubies in the Imperial State Crown appeared to be great on the 90-year-old monarch as she performed her duty as head of state.

The Queen used a lift rather than stairs to enter Parliament for the State Opening for the first time in her 64-year tenure.

But the crown was the most weighty part of the Westminster fixture. With the European Union referendum looming large and a febrile atmosphere in parliament, the content was light.

Much of the list felt familiar - broadband for all, reforms to education and prison reform.

And there was little controversy.


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The Bill of Rights was mentioned - but there was a long pause and little detail to follow.

A sense it might be parked until cabinet relations are less tetchy.

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Amid the glitz of tiaras and age-old traditions, there was the juxtaposition of the bill for the space age.

Following her horse drawn carriage ride from Buckingham Palace through crowds who braved the dank May day, the Queen reflected on laws for driverless cars (or in formal speak - autonomous and electric vehicles).

The light atmosphere was a brief respite from the serious campaigning.

A sense this programme of legislature will not take centre stage until well after June 23.

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