The Queen’s Speech is the centrepiece of the State Opening of Parliament: the official start of the new session. It normally takes place in May, but this can vary, particularly in a year when a general election is held.

The speech itself is written by the Government and is delivered by the Queen in the Chamber of the House of Lords. Its main function is to announce the Government’s priorities and to list the bills that they plan to introduce in the coming session.

MPs are summoned to the Lords Chamber by Black Rod (a Lords official) to watch the Queen deliver her speech.

When the ceremony is complete, MPs return to the Commons Chamber and begin debating the contents of the speech. The debate usually takes place over six days, with each day being assigned to a policy area, such as ‘the economy’ or ‘home affairs’.