The British Monarchy is one of the oldest ones in the world and even now, some of the old traditions, which are displaying the royal life in its finery, are kept with sanctity. Some of the processions are held once a year, some everyday and their purpose was never disputed by officials or locals. The ceremonies are followed according to the traditions written in time, starting several centuries ago and they attract thousands of tourists, which cannot wait to be a part of the royal court’s splendor.
The State Opening of the Parliament
The ceremony is held every year, usually in November, since Medieval times and it marks the start of a new parliamentary session. All the participants are dressed in traditional, royal clothes. The Queen, dressed in her ceremonial robes, is travelling from Buckingham Palace to the House of Lords in her golden carriage. She has to read what became to the known as the “Queen’s Speech”, not before the Sovereign’s Messenger’s journey to the House of Commons, where he has to summon its members to the ceremony. Symbolically, the door is closed in his face and he must knock three times so he can enter. The tradition emphasizes the fact that everyone can be refused to enter into the Commons, expect for the Queen’s messenger. As an interesting fact, no king or queen had entered the House of Commons since 1642.
Searching the Houses of Parliament
Before the Queen enters the House of Lords for the “Opening of the Parliament ceremony”, the Yeomen of the Guard (legendary guards from the Tower of London, who are safeguarding the Tower and the British crown jewels) have the duty to search the cellars from beneath the Palace of Westminster, which hosts the Houses of Parliament since 1550. The tradition is a very old one, dating back to the Gunpowder Plot from 1605, when a man called Guy Fawkes, alongside some other conspirators, tried to destroy the Houses of Parliament by blowing them up, on their opening day.
Lord Mayor’s Show
The Lord Mayor’s Show is a ceremony also taking place every year in November and it is dating back to the 16th century. The Lord Mayor is the legal officer of the City of London and his mandate lasts one year. After his election, he rides on a golden coach to the Royal Courts of Justice where he swears an oath to the Queen and to the people of the City of London. The Lord Mayor’s show finishes with an amazing firework display.
The Ceremony of the Keys
This is one of the oldest ceremonies in London. It takes place every night, in the Tower of London since about 700 years ago. At exactly 21:53 pm, the chief Yeomen of the Guard and the escort of the Key are taking a tour of the Tower, locking the gates. Then, they pass “Queen Elisabeth’s Keys” to a sentry, for safe keeping during the night, after a well-known dialogue, which can be resembled as a series of passwords.
The Changing of the Guards
It is the everyday ceremony that does not need any introduction or fancy explanation. It has been a part of the official residences court tradition since centuries ago and now it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in London. Each day, the new Household Guard (private and traditional guardians of the King/Queen and royal family since 1660) changes the old one generating a spectacle that displays loyalty and order and it can be fairly described as a piece of England’s royal history.
The Queen’s Telegram
The telegram is a rather new tradition. Every man or woman from one of Her Realms or UK Overseas Territories receives a telegram from the Queen herself wishing “Happy Birthday” for special 100 years anniversaries. In the last years, thanks to the modern technology, everyone can send a request, so that the Queen can send congratulatory messages for wedding anniversaries starting from the Diamond one (60th).
Once a year, since the 18th century, in June, all the royal court’s splendor and history, linking all the other existent royal ceremonies are displayed at the Trooping the Colour pageantry. The festivity marks the Queen’s birthday. It is a tradition to celebrate the birthday of the monarch in the summer, when the weather is most likely to be in favor with the festivities, even though, for example, Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday is in April.