The Queen opened Parliament in a day dress and hat instead of in her State Robe and Imperial State Crown

By Monique Jessen
December 19, 2019 07:23 AM

At the State Opening of Parliament on Thursday, Queen Elizabeth left her jewels and decadent robes at home for a rare dressed-down version of the historical event.

Delivering the Queen’s Speech for the second time this year, much of the pomp and ceremony was missing from the annual event, which took place on Thursday due to the recent general election. The ceremony dates back to the 16th century and usually takes place in November or immediately following a general election.

Instead of wearing her State Robe — the heavy 18-foot-long crimson velvet cape that weighs more than 15 lbs. — the Queen wore a day dress and hat, much like she did in 2017 when the opening of Parliament was also delayed due to the general election.

She also opted not to wear the historic Imperial State Crown. Instead, it was placed beside her. The priceless crown, which symbolizes the sovereignty of the monarch, has been worn by the Queen for almost every opening of Parliament since she began her reign. She also traveled to and from Parliament by car, rather than a royal carriage.

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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles
Matt Dunham/AP/Shutterstock

The low-key version of the historical event is a result of the recent election being so close to Christmas, a time when the Queen leaves London to be at her country home of Sandringham, until early February.

At the last Queen’s Speech, delivered in October, she also chose to wear a lighter head-topper option, the George IV State Diadem, with the Imperial State Crown placed on a cushion to the side of the Queen’s throne. Set with 2,868 diamonds including the 317-carat Cullinan II diamond, the priceless crown includes 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls.

Queen Elizabeth at the State Opening of Parliament on October 14, 2019
Toby Melville - WPA Pool / Getty

In 2017, the last time the Queen wore a low-key outfit for the occasion, her official dressmaker and style advisor Angela Kelly designed her an elegant periwinkle blue jacket with an embossed paisley print, a floral yellow and blue dress with a matching Breton-brim block style with flowers handmade from real feathers and tiny yellow pearls.

Carl Court - WPA Pool/Getty

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During her speech, written by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, she sets out the government’s agenda for the upcoming year, outlining proposed policies and legislation.