King Charles pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth at first King's Speech in 73 years

King Charles and Queen Camilla rode in the Diamond State Coach credit:Bang Showbiz
King Charles and Queen Camilla rode in the Diamond State Coach credit:Bang Showbiz

King Charles paid tribute to his late mother, Queen Elizabeth, as he gave the first King's Speech in 73 years.

The 74-year-old British monarch and his wife Queen Camilla, 76, travelled from Buckingham Palace to the House of Lords in Westminster in the Diamond State Coach for The State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday morning (07.11.23).

The last King's Speech was read by Charles's grandfather George VI in 1950.

The king, who wore the Imperial State Crown, a crimson Robe of State and Admiral of the Fleet Royal Naval uniform, spoke of the late sovereign's "legacy of service and devotion" in his first speech as monarch, before going on to highlight the “significant long-term challenges” the country faces following the COVID pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine and the current cost of living crisis.

He began: "My lords and members of the House of Commons.

"It is mindful of the legacy of service and devotion to this country set by My beloved Mother, The late Queen, that I deliver this, the first King’s Speech in over 70 years. The impact of COVID and the war in Ukraine have created significant long-term challenges for the United Kingdom. That is why my government’s priority is to make the difficult but necessary long-term decisions to change this country for the better."

The last time a monarch wore the Imperial State Crown at a State Opening was in 2016.

Camilla chose to re-wear her Coronation gown by Bruce Oldfield with the George IV State Diadem.

Although it was his first speech as monarch, the then-Prince of Wales and the then-Duke of Cambridge read the Queen's Speech for the opening of Parliament last year.

Elizabeth II had been advised to rest at home on doctor's orders.

The late monarch died just a few months later aged 96 in September 2022.

It was also a first for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who stood next to the Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer for the duration of the event.