Through the mouth of El­iz­a­beth II, prime min­is­ter vows hu­mil­ity

Queen’s Speech gives leg­isla­tive out­line

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Kim Hjelm­gaard and Matthew Diebel US­ATO­DAY Con­tribut­ing: The As­so­ci­ated Press

She reads it, but she doesn’t write it. The Queen’s Speech, that is.

Wed­nes­day, Queen El­iz­a­beth II out­lined the gov­ern­ment’s leg­isla­tive pro­gram af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May slimmed down her plans and promised “hu­mil­ity” in ne­go­ti­at­ing Bri­tain’s exit from the Euro­pean Union fol­low­ing a dis­as­trous elec­tion that cost the rul­ing Con­ser­va­tive Party its ma­jor­ity.

The speech the queen reads to law­mak­ers is writ­ten by the prime min­is­ter and her staff.

The 91-year-old monarch car­ried on with her royal du­ties at the cer­e­mo­nial open­ing of the new Par­lia­ment de­spite the an­nounce­ment that her hus­band, Prince Philip, had been hos­pi­tal­ized as a pre­cau­tion for treat­ment of an in­fec­tion.

The nine-minute speech, shorter than usual, re­flected May’s weak­ened po­si­tion — a loss of stature that has em­bold­ened those within her own party who want a “softer” Brexit from the EU. Al­most two weeks af­ter the vote, May’s rul­ing Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment is in talks with the Demo­cratic Union­ist party of North­ern Ire­land to form a rul­ing coali­tion.

Sig­nal­ing the im­por­tance of Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU, set to con­tinue un­til the spring of 2019, the speech set out the gov­ern­ment’s pro­gram for two years, rather than one.

The prime min­is­ter, who cam­paigned with the slo­gan “Brexit means Brexit,” soft­ened her tone in com­ments re­leased be­fore the speech. “First, we need to get Brexit right,” she said. “That means get­ting a deal which de­liv­ers the re­sult of last year’s ref­er­en­dum and does so in a way that com­mands max­i­mum public sup­port.”

Even be­fore news of Prince Philip’s ill­ness, the gov­ern­ment had an­nounced that the speech would be de­liv­ered with less pageantry than nor­mal. The queen ar­rived at Par­lia­ment in a car, rather than a horse-drawn car­riage and de­liv­ered the speech in ev­ery­day dress, in­stead of the tra­di­tional royal robes.

She did not wear her crown while ad­dress­ing law­mak­ers from a gilded throne in the House of Lords, although the crown was sit­ting next to her on a ta­ble. Ac­cord­ing to the BBC, the crown ar­rived in a separate car.

The of­fi­cial rea­son for the scaled-back cer­e­mony is that there wasn’t enough time to re­hearse for the pro­ces­sion be­cause of another pomp-filled Bri­tish event, Troop­ing the Colour, the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the queen’s birth­day, which took place last week­end.

POOL PHOTO FROM GETTY IMAGES

El­iz­a­beth II reads the Queen’s Speech at the open­ing of Par­lia­ment in the House of Lords at the Palace of West­min­ster.

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