The Palace of Westminster was filled with pomp and splendor this Tuesday for the first speech as monarch of the king Charles II at the opening of the sessions of the British Parliament. In just ten minutes, the son of Elizabeth II reviewed twenty initiatives of Rishi Sunak’s Government, a political ritual that will be analyzed in detail with the general elections on the horizon.
Although the Government’s term – that is, the period of time between general elections – can last up to five years in the United Kingdom, every year a new parliamentary session begins. To commemorate this, the monarch delivers a speech – officially called the ‘Throne Speech’ – before Parliament in which he sets out the Executive’s priorities for the coming year.
This session of Parliament is likely to be the last before the general elections, which must be held before January 2025.
Although it is known as the King’s Speech, The monarch does not intervene in the drafting of the legislative programbut simply reads the list on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Government.
Whatever his personal opinions, the monarch must not show any preference for any political party, so the speech is always read in as neutral a tone as possible, without giving anything away with his facial expressions. The monarch has the right to advise and warn the prime minister on political matters. In return, he must always follow the prime minister’s advice and read his speech without question.