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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 17:33 GMT
In pictures: State opening of Parliament

A cleaner vacuums the thrones prior to the State Opening of Parliament in London

The state opening of Parliament is the most colourful event of the parliamentary year. It is the day the Queen reads a speech setting out the forthcoming legislative agenda

Yeomen of the Guards' feet are seen before they conduct a ceremonial search at the Houses of Parliament

The speech takes place amid a wealth of pomp and ceremony, including Yeomen Warders searching the cellar in a tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605

The crown to be worn by Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the Sovereign Entrance of the House of Lords

The Queen is rarely more regally dressed. On arrival at Parliament, she changes in the robing rooms into Royal robes and dons the Imperial State Crown

Members of the House of Lords wait in the Princes' Chamber for the State Opening

Ermine-clad members of the House of Lords wait for the start of the speech in the Princes' Chamber

Law Lords sit on the cross benches as they wait in the House of Lords

...and Law Lords wait on cross benches. Once members of the Commons arrive all the constituent parts of Parliament - the Lords, the Commons and the monarch - are in one place

The Queen and Prince Philip pass through the Royal Gallery at the House of Lords

The Queen, accompanied by Prince Philip, makes her way through the House of Lords wearing the crown that is normally on display in the Tower of London

The Queen holds hands with the Duke of Edinburgh

She delivers an eight-minute speech written by Gordon Brown's government which contains 29 bills

the Queen reads a speech from a throne in the House of Lords at the state opening of Parliament

The House of Lords chamber is packed with guests, including judges, ambassadors and high commissioners, many in colourful national or ceremonial dress

The Queen leaves the Houses of Parliament

When the Queen leaves, the Royal Standard is taken down and the Union Flag is hoisted

The Queen looks out of carriage travelling from the State Opening of Parliament

In the afternoon Parliament goes back to work to debate the content of the speech. The Queen, meanwhile, prepares to open the refurbished St Pancras station

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