the queens speech britain united kingdom queen elizabeth sot_00003520.jpg
Bowtie
the queens speech britain united kingdom queen elizabeth sot_00003520.jpg
Now playing
00:58
Queen Elizabeth opens British parliament
screengrab prince edward
CNN
screengrab prince edward
Now playing
06:15
Prince Edward talks to CNN about his father's legacy and family rift
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Creative Industries and Business Reception on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.   (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Creative Industries and Business Reception on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:16
Foster: Harry and Meghan's new baby's name a nod to the Queen
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JULY 13:  U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II inspect a Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards at Windsor Castle on July 13, 2018 in Windsor, England.  Her Majesty welcomed the President and Mrs Trump at the dais in the Quadrangle of the Castle. A Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards, gave a Royal Salute and the US National Anthem was played. The Queen and the President inspected the Guard of Honour before watching the military march past. The President and First Lady then joined Her Majesty for tea at the Castle.  (Photo by Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JULY 13: U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II inspect a Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards at Windsor Castle on July 13, 2018 in Windsor, England. Her Majesty welcomed the President and Mrs Trump at the dais in the Quadrangle of the Castle. A Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards, gave a Royal Salute and the US National Anthem was played. The Queen and the President inspected the Guard of Honour before watching the military march past. The President and First Lady then joined Her Majesty for tea at the Castle. (Photo by Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:49
Queen Elizabeth's history with US Presidents
CNN/Getty Images
Now playing
05:14
The British Royal family explained: Who's the 'firm' and how does it work?
Princess of Wales Diana poses, 27 January 1988, during her visit to the Footscray Park in suburb of Melbourne. (Photo by PATRICK RIVIERE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PATRICK RIVIERE/AFP via Getty Images)
PATRICK RIVIERE/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Princess of Wales Diana poses, 27 January 1988, during her visit to the Footscray Park in suburb of Melbourne. (Photo by PATRICK RIVIERE / AFP) (Photo credit should read PATRICK RIVIERE/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:29
A look back at Princess Diana's life in fashion
Martin Bashir Diana Foster pkg vpx
BBC Panorama
Martin Bashir Diana Foster pkg vpx
Now playing
02:59
BBC reporter behind Diana interview: I don't believe we harmed her
Prince William BBC response
Twitter/@KensingtonRoyal
Prince William BBC response
Now playing
02:56
Prince William slams BBC after report on methods used to secure Diana interview
Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the BBC television program "Panorama" in 1995.
Tim Graham/Pool/Corbis/Getty Images
Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in Kensington Palace for the BBC television program "Panorama" in 1995.
Now playing
02:50
BBC issues apology for 1995 Princess Diana interview
AppleTV
Now playing
00:44
Prince Harry and Oprah discuss mental health in new series trailer
queens speech 2021 queen elizabeth intl ldn vpx_00002319.png
Parliament TV
queens speech 2021 queen elizabeth intl ldn vpx_00002319.png
Now playing
08:55
Queen Elizabeth II opens UK Parliament. Hear full speech
screengrab prince harry
Getty Images
screengrab prince harry
Now playing
02:42
Prince Harry compares Royal life to Truman show
The Me You Can't See/Apple TV+
Now playing
01:30
'I was willing to take drugs:' Prince Harry on pressures of royal life
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: The Duke of Edinburgh's coffin, covered with His Royal Highness's Personal Standard is carried to the purpose built Land Rover during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born 10 June 1921, in Greece. He served in the British Royal Navy and fought in WWII. He married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947 and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King VI. He served as Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth II until his death on April 9 2021, months short of his 100th birthday. His funeral takes place today at Windsor Castle with only 30 guests invited due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Adrian Dennis/WPA Pool/Getty Images
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: The Duke of Edinburgh's coffin, covered with His Royal Highness's Personal Standard is carried to the purpose built Land Rover during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born 10 June 1921, in Greece. He served in the British Royal Navy and fought in WWII. He married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947 and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King VI. He served as Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth II until his death on April 9 2021, months short of his 100th birthday. His funeral takes place today at Windsor Castle with only 30 guests invited due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:29
See memorable moments from Prince Philip's funeral
ITN
Now playing
02:10
Princes Harry and William seen together at Prince Philip's funeral
Getty Images
Now playing
00:55
CNN anchor: We saw a Queen grieving

Story highlights

Queen Elizabeth II makes no mention of state visit to UK by US President Donald Trump

Controversial parts of Conservatives' manifesto dropped from monarch's speech

London CNN —  

A somber Queen’s Speech laid out a Brexit-heavy policy agenda and dropped key pledges made by embattled Prime Minister Theresa May, who on Wednesday officially began the challenge of leading a minority government.

Queen Elizabeth II read out a list of the government’s intentions – as is tradition before parliament begins a new session – at a tumultuous time for Britain and as May’s leadership comes into question.

The speech included eight bills centered on the UK leaving the European Union, and measures to address recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, as well as last week’s deadly apartment block fire.

The agenda is essentially a watered down version of the Conservative Party’s election campaign manifesto, a document widely blamed for the party’s loss of command in Parliament.

The speech did not make reference to pledges in the manifesto to tax the elderly more heavily for their own care and cut back on free lunches for schoolchildren, policies slammed by opposition parties and the public.

Take a 360 tour of the Houses of Parliament

While the Queen said she planned to welcome the Spanish King and Queen in July, she made no mention of a visit by US President Donald Trump. The Queen invited Trump to Britain, but a date has never been set and UK media has speculated that the trip may be scrapped due to a lack of public support.

May had hoped to officially secure support from the Democratic Union Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, whose 10 seats in Parliament would give her enough votes to push her legislative agenda through. But as of Wednesday morning, no deal had been made.

The Queen opening a new session of Parliament on Wednesday.
Bowtie
The Queen opening a new session of Parliament on Wednesday.

The agenda appears to be deliberately modest in ambition and there were no real surprises, reflecting the Conservative party’s weakened position in Parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, shot the agenda down as “threadbare” and sign of a government “in chaos.”

“This is a government without a majority, without a mandate, without a serious legislative program led by a prime minister who’s lost her political authority, and is struggling even today to stitch together a deal to stay in office,” he said in Parliament after the MPs were sworn in.

What was in the speech?

The Queen announced that the Great Repeal Bill would be introduced to convert all EU laws into UK law, allowing the country to decide at a later date which to keep and which to scrap.

Bills on trade and customs will be introduced – Brexit means Britain will try to strike new deals with the EU but also with other nations that it was unable to negotiate with while a an EU member.

“My government’s priority is to secure the best possible deal as the country leaves the European Union,” the Queen said.

Peers take their seats in the House of Lords before the Queen's Speech on Wednesday.
Carl Court/Getty Images
Peers take their seats in the House of Lords before the Queen's Speech on Wednesday.

Parliament will also introduce a new bill on immigration. Immigration was the centerpiece issue in the campaign to leave the EU, and the government has promised to deliver a policy that controls the inflow.

The Queen confirmed that there would be a full public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire and that an independent public advocate, who will act for bereaved families after public disasters, would be introduced. At least 79 people are presumed dead in one of the country’s worst disasters in a generation.

In light of recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, existing laws would be revised, but no new bills were announced.

“My government’s counter-terrorism strategy will be reviewed to ensure that the police and security services have all the powers they need and that the length of custodial sentences for terrorism-related offenses are sufficient to keep the population safe,” the Queen said.

Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace with Prince Charles on Wednesday.
Frank Augstein/AP
Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace with Prince Charles on Wednesday.

While powers will be revised, there was no mention of police resources. After the recent terror attacks, May came under criticism for cutting 20,000 officers from police forces in her time as Home Secretary, and senior politicians, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, have openly called on her government to boost police numbers.

Corbyn repeated his call in parliament Wednesday for May to boost police resources and blamed the government’s cuts to councils for the disaster. Corbyn had already said that his party could vote against the Queen’s Speech and even offer up some amendments.

The Queen’s Speech lacked the usual level of pomp and pageantry, with the Queen ditching her traditional red velvet Robe of State and crown for a blue day dress and hat, and swapping her horse-drawn carriage for a car.

She was accompanied by her eldest son, Prince Charles, after Buckingham Palace confirmed that her husband, Prince Philip, had been hospitalized with an infection.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles at the House of Lords for the Queen's Speech on Wednesday.
Carl Court/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles at the House of Lords for the Queen's Speech on Wednesday.

May’s future in doubt?

The Queen’s Speech comes at a time when May’s premiership has become vulnerable and the country’s future uncertain, with negotiations over Britain’s departure from the European Union having only just begun.

May’s own position has been called into question ever since her decision to call a snap election. Her attempt to secure a larger mandate ahead of the Brexit negotiations backfired with her losing her commanding majority.

In written remarks prepared for the first day of Parliament, the troubled Prime Minister began trying to undo some of the key messages from the Conservatives’ election campaign, saying that social care would be addressed and that every school should be fairly funded.

Parliament must pass the Queen’s Speech in a vote, but with May yet to secure a deal with the DUP, she is aware that failure to get the speech through could be seen as a vote of no confidence.

The Queen’s Speech usually sets out the government’s legislative plan for the 12 months ahead, but this year’s is different. May’s government intends to run a two-year parliamentary period to complete the country’s exit from the European Union.

CNN’s David Wilkinson, Carol Jordan and Stephanie Halasz contributed to this report.