Why is the Queen BANNED from entering the House of Commons?

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The Queen will play a key role in the State Opening of Parliament ceremony on Tuesday, May 11. This year the event will be adapted with reduced ceremonial elements to ensure it remains Covid-safe. However, some traditions will not change and one of these is the Queen is not permitted to enter the House of Commons despite delivering the key speech of the day.

The Queen will deliver a speech to the nation today setting out the Government’s plans for the upcoming year.

Traditionally the ceremony is very large and involves a lot of centuries-old traditions.

Only 74 people will be allowed to watch the ceremony in person today, with an additional 34 MPs permitted to view the speech from the gallery.

The speech typically lasts around 10 minutes and has been written for the Queen by Government ministers.

Despite the Queen taking centre stage during today’s proceedings, she is banned from entering the House of Commons.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, she will travel to the House of Commons by car, rather than by carriage as is the normal tradition.

She arrives at the Sovereign’s Entrance and then goes to the Robing Room.

Next, the Queen proceeds through the Royal Gallery to the House of Lords chamber meaning she never enters the Commons.

No reigning monarch has entered the House of Commons since 1642.

This happened after King Charles I stormed the Commons – an action which led to civil war.

Instead, the Queen has an official representative who requests the MPs attend the Queen’s Speech ceremony.

Black Rod is the Monarch’s representative and this individual is tasked with knocking on the House of Commons door.

After Black Rod knocks on the door, they have the door slammed in their face and have to knock three times to gain entry.

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Another strange tradition is that the Queen always takes an MP as her hostage during the State Opening of Parliament.

In May 2021, this hostage will be Marcus Jones, MP for Nuneaton.

This bizarre tradition dates back to King Charles 1 in 1629.

At that time, King Charles I would not allow Parliament to meet and bolted the doors to the chambers shut.

For 11 years, Parliament was not permitted to meet during the period known as the 11 years Tyranny.

When Parliament did reconvene, Charles I entered the House of Commons in an attempt to arrest five MPs.

However, his plan backfired and he was found guilty of treason.

From that day on, the reigning Monarch has refused to enter the Houses of Parliament without taking an MP as hostage for their own peace of mind.

Theoretically, if something happened to the Queen while she was in Parliament, the hostage would mee the same end.

Luckily this theory has never been tested and all hostages have safely been returned to Parliament after the ceremony has been completed.

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