Find out why Queen Elizabeth II did not wear her crown for the first time in 43 years

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The Queen’s Speech and State Opening of Parliament is usually a grand occasion with royal robes, a golden carriage and a heavy crown.

But today’s looked very different.

There are a lot of reasons that might spring to mind: the heatwave, the Queen’s advancing years, the sombre mood in the country given the string of recent tragedies.

But it is nothing to do with any of these things – it had been planned all along. Well, since Theresa May called a snap election at any rate.

The unexpected election meant the date for the State Opening of Parliament was set for just a few days after the grand ceremony of Trooping the Colour, which marks the Queen’s official birthday each year.

Both events are huge feats of organisation, with a Sovereign’s Escort from the Household Cavalry Regiment, and the Queen’s route lined by hundreds of service personnel.

And them taking place so close together meant there was not enough time for sufficient rehearsal and preparation.

Instead, today’s is a simpler presentation of the ceremony – although still a fair bit grander than your trip to work or the school run and morning meeting.

The Queen travelled to and from Parliament from Buckingham Palace by car today (which probably has better air conditioning than the traditional carriage).

And for the first time since 1974 she wore “day dress” and a hat rather than robes of state and Imperial State Crown to deliver her speech.

The crown was still very much a part of proceedings though – travelling in its own car to Parliament from the Tower of London, where it is kept as part of the Crown Jewels collection.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ford carries the Imperial State Crown into the Palace of Westminster
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ford carries the Imperial State Crown into the Palace of Westminster (Photo: PA)
The Queen and Prince Charles on thrones in the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament, with the Imperial State Crown on a stand
The Queen had her crown where she could see it (Photo: AFP)

It was carried into the ceremony by an officer of state and placed on a stand in front of the Queen. The Sword of State and Cap of Maintenance were also carried.

Prince Philip is missing what was likely to be his final appearance at the State Opening after being admitted to hospital with an infection last night. He was also set to be dressed down, wearing a morning coat rather than full naval uniform. He is set to retire from public life in the autumn.

The Queen and Prince Philip at Ascot yesterday (Photo: Splash News)

And there was literally minimal fanfare for the Queen’s arrival, with no heralds present as she makes her procession to the Chamber of the House of Lords to take the throne and deliver her speech.

A scaled-back version of the ceremony was last held in March 1974, after Labour leader Harold Wilson defeated Edward Heath in a snap election.

The Queen last wore "day dress" for the State Opening in 1974
The Queen last wore “day dress” for the State Opening in 1974 (Photo: Rex Features)

When Mrs May called the snap election called for June 8, the State Opening was originally set for Monday 19 June, meaning the cancellation of this year’s Order of the Garter service, and plans for the scaled down ceremony put in place.

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