Prince Charles, heir to the British crown, made history on Tuesday by replacing Queen Elizabeth II for the first time at the formal opening of Parliament, where he read the Government’s legislative program, which includes measures against uncontrolled protests by environmental groups and cost of living plans
Due to her mobility problems, the 96-year-old sovereign was forced to cancel her attendance at this constitutional appointment, her first absence since 1963, when she was unable to attend Parliament because she was pregnant with her youngest son, Prince Edward.
In a clear sign of a transition within the British monarchy, the 73-year-old Prince of Wales today assumed the duties of head of state, and was accompanied by his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and their eldest son , the Duke of Cambridge, who is attending this ceremony for the first time.
The legislative program is prepared by the Government to be read at this official opening of Parliament in Westminster.
A ceremony with pomp
Despite the absence of Elizabeth II, the event was held with all the pomp that tradition commands, in the (high) House of Lords, where the imperial crown was not lacking, placed on a red cushion, a symbol of the important relationship between monarchy and parliament.
On behalf of the queen and from that room reserved for the nobility, Prince Charles complied with the protocol of rigor by asking an emissary to call the Commons (deputies of the lower house) to listen to his speech.
After walking down the corridor that separates the two chambers in the Palace of Westminster, the emissary was slammed as soon as she reached the Commons, a traditional gesture and symbol of the independence and democratic power of the House of Commons.
Before the Commons, the emissary made three strong knocks on the door with a rod to inform the deputies of the call from Prince Charles on behalf of the head of state.
From that instance, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the leader of the opposition, Labor Keir Starmer, walked together to the House of Lords, followed by the ministers, the so-called “shadow cabinet” (Labour) and the rest of the deputies.
Once everyone in the Upper House -the Lords with their colorful ermine capes-, the Prince of Wales, dressed in military uniform, read in just ten minutes the general lines of the Executive’s program for the next parliamentary period.
Government legislative initiatives
Johnson’s plan contains 38 pieces of legislation, including measures to alleviate the high cost of living, due to the increase in inflation and energy prices, and boost economic growth in order to reduce the economic and social inequalities that exist between the different areas of the country.
The Executive hopes to introduce a legislative project aimed at modifying community laws that remained in force after Brexit.
Among other things, the Government will present a project with which it wants to stop the growing protests of some environmental groups, with the imposition of sentences of up to 12 months in prison for interfering in the activity of airports or railways.
This measure is intended to limit the activity of organizations such as “Insulate Britain” and “Extinction Rebellion”, which in recent years have taken drastic measures, such as blocking highways, to draw attention to the climate crisis.
Some opposition parties, such as the Liberal Democrats, consider these plans “dangerous and draconian”.
Another piece of legislation is related to the media, with which the Government hopes to give the green light to the privatization of Channel 4 television.
The Government hopes to be able to carry out these laws by having a majority in the House of Commons.