Queen's Speech: the most British bits of the State Opening of Parliament
The Queen's Speech is when the Queen reads out the things the government plans to make law in the next year or so.
The speech itself usually lasts about ten minutes and this one was written by Conservative ministers.
The longest one ever was 1763 words. You might write more in an A-level exam.
The state opening of Parliament is definitely worth witnessing at least once.
It is peculiarly British. For example...
Middle-aged men in ruffs with flowers on their shoes run around checking for people with gunpowder
The Queen's Bodyguard, also called the Yeoman of the Guard, carry out a ceremonial search of the Palace of Westminster in a tradition that dates back to the Gunpowder plot in 1605 (the Metropolitan Police carries out a more modern search beforehand).
These ruffed men have titles like Senior Messenger Sergeant Major and Wardrobe Keeper, Yeoman Bed Goer and Yeoman Bed Hanger. And they are all middle-aged: Yeomen have to be 42 years old when they are appointed and have to remain under 55 years.
The flowers on their shoes are Tudor roses, the emblem of England, the white rose of the House of York combined with the red rose of the House of Lancaster.
NB: These are NOT Beefeaters. Beefeaters are Yeomen Warders of the Tower of London. Very different.
All the politicians have to wait for Black Rod (Hint: the rod he carries is black)
There's nothing to stop this individual in black being called Rod, but the name actually refers to his official title: Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.
His real name is David Leakey and he leads the MPs into the House of Lords, but only after they've slammed a door in his face to symbolise that the House of Commons is independent from the House of Lords.
After knocking three times with his ebony stick he is allowed in and elected politicians can make their way across to the unelected Lords.
You can see a lot of people wearing bear fur on their heads on a warm day in May
The foot soldiers of the Queen's Household Division wear these hats - called bearskins - for ceremonial occasions.
The standard bearskin is made from Canadian black bear fur and weighs almost a kilogram.
A guardsman passed out today due to the heat and had to be carried away on a stretcher.
You only usually see this many guards together during Trooping the Colour, Changing of the Guard and other duties involved with guarding Buckingham Palace.
Although animal rights' charities have campaigned against the use of black bear fur, it is still used - along with brown bear fur dyed black for officers.
The speech itself is more animal friendly now. Until a few years ago, the speech was written on a rare form of calf's skin known as vellum. It is now written on high-quality parchment paper.
Mace and purse look different from what you may expect
In North America, if you were going to put mace in your purse, you would likely be popping pepper spray in your handbag. Pepper spray is illegal for individuals to possess in the UK.
You couldn't do this here anyway.
Parliament's mace is ceremonial, meant to represent the Sovereign's authority.
The purse is where the Queen's speech is kept until it is handed to her.
Oh, and the Mall is not a shopping centre, it's the tree-lined road leading from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace. But you knew that.
There are a lot of capes and tiaras
The Queen wore a tiara in her carriage and then put on the Imperial State Crown for the ceremony.
This diamond encrusted beast weighs almost one kilogram or the equivalent of two bags of sugar.
It is worn once a year for this event. The rest of the time you can find it lounging on a cushion in the Tower of London.
Ermine is the white winter fur of the stoat and is used to trim the Lords' cloaks. Ooh-er.
The most unlikely things...
One of the things the government has pledged to do is ban new psychoactive drugs.
The Queen and MDMA don't necessarily go together, but today we heard the Queen say "psychoactive drugs".