A version of this story appeared in the May 14 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on the royal family, what they are up to in public and what’s happening behind palace walls. Sign up here.

London (CNN) – This year’s State Opening of Parliament was a stripped-down affair, like every other public event these days. No carriages or robes for the Queen, and the Palace of Westminster felt like a ghost town on what is usually its busiest day of the year. Particularly poignant was the absence of the throne Prince Philip traditionally sat in as consort.

There was never any doubt over the 95-year-old’s attendance following her husband’s death. The sovereign is one of the constituent parts of the British parliament, alongside the House of Commons and House of Lords. The State Opening is the one day every year tha