As I write this, the military band is just arriving outside my office. Well, all right, outside the House of Lords, to entertain the waiting crowds prior to the Queen’s arrival. I feel sometimes that we’ve got the balance between pageant/history/tradition slightly out of kilter on days like this. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the marching bands, the Queen in her regalia reading out the Government’s legislative plan for the coming year.
Parliament seems to go out of its way to lock itself in not just the last century, but the one before. For example, there is a ballot for peers to be able to sit in the Chamber, in their robes. Fine, as there are too many to all be seated in the Chamber. What is less well known is that a number of wives of nobles Lords take precedence over peers providing they wear court dress (tiaras, white silk long court gown, long white gloves are the order of the day). Bizarre.
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