The Queen’s Speech

On May 8th, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened Parliament and read the speech prepared for her by the Government listing the bills that would be put to the Houses during the course of the next year. Much is being made of Prince Charles’ unusual attendance, a sign perhaps of his increased role as the Queen grows older. The full text of the Queen’s speech can be read on the Number 10 website here.

British Pathé has a great many films of previous state openings of Parliament. But particularly noteworthy are the clips outlined below. Click the links to take a look.

King Edward VII opens Parliament in 1901

Description: State coach bearing King Edward VII and escort pass camera on arrival at Houses of Parliament for State Opening of Parliament.

State coach and escort leave by the Victoria Tower and turn past camera.

Watch the film here.

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King George V Opens His First Parliament (1910)

Description: Intertitle reads: “King George V Opens His First Parliament. Scenes from Buckingham Palace along with route to the Houses of Parliament”.

London.

Scenes of the state coach carrying King George V with escort making its way along Mall through Horse Guards and arriving at Houses of Parliament for the State Opening of Parliament.

Watch the film here.

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King Edward VIII opens Parliament, 1936

Description: Various shots of crowds in the rain, men from the Yeoman of the Guard file in to search vaults in House of Lords. The royal car carrying King Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor) drives through, he has chosen a closed car because of the bad weather. He is wearing Admiral’s uniform and waves at the crowds. M/S as his car enters the Palace of Westminster. 

M/S as he drives out again afterwards, crowds are still gathered to see him. M/S as his car enters the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Watch the film here.

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State Opening Of Parliament (1937)

Description: Royal coach leaving Buckingham Palace. Large crowds running towards the coach. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Mother) are see in coach. Various shots of the coach moving very slowly through packed London streets towards Parliament. Crowds cheering. Several shots of the Yeomen of the Guard preparing for the Royal Reception. Various shots of the coach returning to Buckingham Palace after opening of the Parliament. A car with Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret follows the coach on the way to the Palace.

Watch the film here.

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Queen Opens Parliament (1952)

Description: GV. Royal carriage leaving Buckingham Palace. SV. Pan, royal carriage leaving Buckingham Palace. SV. Royal Household escort leaving. GTV. of massed crowds at Horse Guards. GV.STV. Royal carriage driving through Horse Guards. LV. Royal carriage driving through Horse Guards. SV. Crowd as horses pass. SV. Pan Queen’s coach passing crowds. LV. Household Cavalry arriving on foot outside Parliament. LV.SV. Beefeaters arriving from coach. LV. Gentlemen at Arms arriving and assembling. SV. Lords arriving. SV. Yeomen of the Guard (Beefeaters) going into Palace of Westminster. SV.Back view, Yeoman of the Guard going into Parliament. LV. Crowd: and Guards present arms. SV. Pan Princess Margaret’s car arriving, also with her is the Princess Royal. LV. Escort Cavalry trotting past towards Parliament. SV. Pan, escort Cavalry trotting past towards Palace of Westminster. LV. Towards and pan, State Coach approaching Guard of Honour. LV. Escort passing Guard of Honour, Guards present. SV. People watching from balcony. LV. Towards and pan State coach passing Guard of Honour. SCU. Coach turning and driving into courtyard. Angle shot, Parliament. LV.SV. Household Cavalry lined up outside. SCU. Queen’s coach leaving Parliament. CU Royal Standard flying from Flag Pole. MS. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on balcony. GV. Crowds outside Palace.  LS. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall and Princess Anne on balcony.

Watch the film here.

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State Opening Of Parliament (1969)

Description: Colour item.

M/S as the Irish State Coach leaves Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II waves from it. M/S as it drives along. M/S travelling past Guard of Honour. M/S state crown in carriage. M/S parade. M/S Queen and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, in carriage.  M/S escort riding along. M/S’s coach coming up Whitehall.   M/S as the coach arrives at Parliament and drives through gates.

Watch the film here.

There is also some very good silent footage of the interior from 1969.

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British Pathé’s complete collection of State Openings can be found here.

www.britishpathe.com

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Royal Baby Names: Take the Poll

There’s nothing like a royal pregnancy announcement to get the media’s mouths watering. So we thought we would join in the speculation and fun of guessing the future King or Queen’s name. We are in no doubt that William and Catherine will stay within the bounds of traditionalism (i.e no Apples or Harpers here) but will they be safe and choose the name of a previous monarch or will they go for something new? We have dug in to the archives to find out some names of previous Princes and Princesses. Scroll to the bottom, to take our poll

Princess Margaret

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret

Of course Prince William’s Great Aunt was Princess Margaret or “Margot” as she was affectionately called by friends. There hasn’t been a Queen Margaret before, however, although a royal beauty, the Queen’s sister was quite a controversial member of the royal family.

Prince Albert (Bertie)

George VI or Prince Albert as he was christened
George VI or Prince Albert as he was christened

If you have seen the King’s Speech, you probably feel like you know King George VI rather well. The Queen’s beloved father was a reluctant King; thrown on to the throne after his brother’s abdication, he had the enormous job of restoring the popularity of the monarchy which was at an all time low. He succeeded. He has gone down in history as being a dutiful family man and a King with personal courage. So perhaps William will pay homage to his great-grandfather whose baptismal name was Prince Albert and was known as ‘Bertie’ by his family. There never has been a King Albert as Edward VII (born Prince Albert) decided he didn’t want to diminish the status of his father. The Queen’s (Elizabeth II) father took the regnal name George VI to carry on this tradition.

Princess Mary (May)

Queen Mary of Teck watching Wimbledon
Queen Mary of Teck watching Wimbledon

We think Mary may be a strong contender for a girl and then with a nickname of ‘May’. Prince William’s great-great grandmother was Queen Mary of Teck (pictured) and Queen Victoria’s great granddaughter was called Princess May of Teck. And of course there hasn’t been a Mary on the throne since the days of Mary II aka “William and Mary” who were joint sovereigns of England, Scotland and Ireland back in the 17th century. Mary is a pretty girl’s name which has fallen out of vogue in the last 50 years but we just have a hunch it could be time for a resurgence.

Prince Henry or Princess Henrietta

Prince Henry, the Queen's Uncle, watching the racing with his niece
Prince Henry, the Queen’s Uncle, watching the racing with his niece

We all know how close Prince William and his brother Harry (Prince Henry) are so we think there is a strong possibility that William may choose Henry or Henrietta as a tribute to his brother. ‘Henry’ has been a popular choice for members of the royal family. Prince Henry, seen in this picture with the Queen, was the Queen’s uncle and there have been many Prince Henry’s before him.

Henry VIII was the last Henry to grace the throne though. He was an accomplished and charismatic king although he is often illustrated as a lustful and egotistical character. And although there has never been a Queen Henrietta, apparently the name Henrietta is a “thoroughly upper-class name” and in fact Charles I’s daughter was called Princess Henrietta of England. It’s not very popular in England anymore but perhaps it’s time for a renaissance.

Princess Victoria

Queen Victoria in Dublin
Queen Victoria in Dublin

Could there be another Victorian era ahead? It is some 111 years since Queen Victoria’s reign ended. If William looks to his family history for inspiration, he will know that Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years and seven months, is still the longest reign of any British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history. Although she was officially Alexandrina Victoria (nicknamed Drina), her first name was withdrawn at her own wish.

Victoria was the symbol of the British Empire. She displayed fortitude and strength when there were seven separate attempts on her life. Her popularity was temporarily affected by her depression but ultimately she was a popular Queen who remained dutiful to the end. As William is 4th great-grandson of Queen Victoria, we think Queen Victoria II is a strong contender.

Princess Charlotte

Prince Charles with the Queen
Prince Charles with the Queen

And how about Charlotte? Of course Charlotte is the female name of Charles so this would be a great tribute to William’s father. There was Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who was the Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George III. If it is a boy though, we don’t think William and Kate will choose Charles – just because there is already one in line to the throne.

Pathe’s Final Prediction
Our wholly speculative final guess is: a girl called Charlotte

…and if it is a boy, our final guess is: Albert

But what do you think? Take the poll now: