Every session of Parliament begins with a royal address from the reigning monarch, commonly known as the Queen's - or King's - Speech.
The Queen's Speech outlines the government's legislative plans for the coming session and is normally made during the first two weeks of November.
The monarch usually attends the state opening in person and reads out the speech - written by the government - from the throne in the House of Lords.
Later on the same day both the Commons and Lords move a Loyal Address in answer to the speech and this is followed by a debate on the address.
The speech follows a similar pattern each time including:
- The opening words, "My Lords and Members of the House of Commons"
- Details of state visits to the United Kingdom and state visits by members of the Royal family to other countries
- General aspects of foreign and domestic policy
- A declaration to "members of the House of Commons" that "estimates for the public service will be laid before you"
- An address to both Houses continues to outline policy and details the legislative programme for the forthcoming session of Parliament
- The speech ends with the words "I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels"