Queen's Speech 2015: What is it, why is it happening and what will be announced?

Joe Hall
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The Queen's Speech will set out the government's legislative plans for the forthcoming parliamentary session. (Source: Getty)

What is the Queen's Speech?

The Queen's Speech takes place at the beginning of every new parliamentary session when the government's legislative plans are laid out. The Queen reveals a number of proposed bills for new laws and outlines policies in a speech drawn up by the government.

It's an age-old tradition that dates back to the 16th century in various forms. It has existed in its current format since 1852 following the re-opening of the Palace of Westminster.

When and where?

The speech will be read from the throne at House of Lords Chamber at around 11.30am on Wednesday, 15 minutes after the Queen arrives at the Houses of Parliament through the Sovereign's Entrance.

The motion for humble address takes place at 2.30pm for the Commons and 3.30pm for the Lords, where both are invited to thank the Queen before kicking-off a debate around the government's legislative measures in earnest.

What will be announced?

There's always one or two surprises expected to be dropped in somewhere during the speech but EU membership immigration, city devolution, adjustments to strike laws and the repeal of the human rights act are all expected to feature heavily this year.

Read more: Everything we know about the 2015 Queen's Speech so far

"The Black Rod" David Leakey. (Source: Getty)

How does it play out?

Naturally, the Queen's Speech is a lavish ceremonial event which begins with a procession - escorted by the Household Cavalry - from Buckingham Palace to Westminster.

Dressed in the Robe of the State and the Imperial State Crown (complete with more than 2,000 diamonds) the Queen leads the procession through the Houses of Parliament's Royal Gallery in front of hundreds of guests.

The House of Lords official - called "the Black Rod" - is sent to the Commons chamber before having the door slammed shut in his face to symbolise the government's independence from the crown.

Anything else?

Listen out for Dennis Skinner - the veteran Labour MP - often has a comment or two to spark a few chuckles before the speech gets underway. In fact he has made something of a name for himself cracking jokes at the expense of the government, Commons and Lords officials and even sometimes the royal household.

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