Link: Daily Mail
Though bare-headed and not dressed in robes of state – he was in his Admiral of the Fleet uniform with Garter collar and Thistle sash – he looked and sounded the full regal part. Of course, he was born to it. But he has now been playing an active role in public life for longer than anyone else in the Chamber yesterday.
He attended his first State Opening in 1967, before many of those on parade had even been born. Sitting alongside him, in plain morning dress, the Duke of Cambridge looked older than some of the MPs at the back.
There were a few other modernising touches, including the Duchess of Cornwall’s stunning navy dress, coat and hat. For the first time, the procession boasted a female herald, Professor Anne Curry, a medieval historian from the University of Southampton. From now on, at state occasions, however, she will be known as ‘Arundel Herald Extraordinary’.
The proceedings included the Household Cavalry’s first husband-and-wife State Trumpeters, Kate and Julian Sandford. Yet as their fanfare sounded, it did feel peculiar not to see the solemn, serene personification of permanence coming into view.
In the absence of the Queen, the authorities were keen to weed out anything which might smack of ‘regency’ (even if the prince’s presiding role as Counsellor of State was arranged under the terms of the Regency Act 1937).
The outward symbols were designed to stress the prince’s role as a deputy, not a replacement. So, the Queen’s usual position was occupied by the Imperial State Crown. She has not worn it for six years because the last few State Openings were reduced, dressed-down affairs for various reasons.
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Link: Daily Mail