Posted: 08 May 2013

Preparing for the Queen's speech

Today the Queen officially opens the new session of parliament. While several publications have run stories on what to expect – BBC News has a thorough summary – there is significant anticipation around today’s speech. 

The Queen’s speech can introduce legislation that will have an impact on children and families across the UK. If you haven’t seen our policy team’s video of what we would like the speech to contain, please have a look.

The video addresses areas that will make a huge difference to hundreds of thousands of children across the country, including free school meals for all children in poverty, and increased support for young carers.

Also, check back later today when our Public Affairs Manager, James Bury, will address what the Queen's speech contains.

Today's speech and the history behind it

Written by the cabinet, the Queen's speech lays out the government’s agenda for the coming year. (For perspective, see the Guardian’s analysis of the Queen’s speeches from the past 20 years, broken down by the number of bills introduced and the word count.)

In addition to laying out a legislative plan, the speech continues a tradition that stretches back more than 400 years – the parliament website has a page focusing on its archives of the history of monarchs opening parliament. 

There are also a handful of related traditions, such as the yeoman of the guard searching the cellars of the Palace of Westminster to prevent an attack in the style planned by Guy Fawkes. Also, the Queen’s speech had been written on vellum until this year - today's speech is on paper.

Watch or listen to this year’s Queen’s speech on BBC’s iPlayer, beginning at 10.30 this morning. The archived recording will be available from 2.30pm.

Photograph © Mr Pics /

By Matt Summers-Sparks - Digital team

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