'Dressed down' Queen to appear at State Opening

By Peter Hunt
Royal correspondent, BBC News

image captionThe usual ceremonies of State Opening will be reduced this year

The State Opening of Parliament is one of those occasions when the Queen appears, well, queenly.

The ceremony was adjusted last year so that the then 90-year-old monarch could use a lift rather than walk up some stairs.

This year it will be a pale shadow of its former self.

A "dressed down" head of state will turn up in what is described in certain circles as a "day dress". And a hat.

Missing will be any robes and the Imperial State Crown will be present, but the Queen won't be wearing it.

Constitutional purists may be further troubled by the absence of any carriages.

The reduction in pomp is being blamed on time pressures and the need to rehearse properly.

Trooping the Colour will take place two days before the State Opening of Parliament, which is scheduled for 19 June.

Officials insist the temporary changes have nothing to do with the Queen's age.

Normal ceremonial service will resume next year.