U.K. government sets out agenda in first COVID-era Queen's Speech
Queen Elizabeth II laid out the U.K. government's agenda at the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday, marking the first Queen's Speech since the pandemic began and her first major public appearance since the death of her husband, Prince Philip.
Why it matters: In a pared-back ceremony, the queen set out Prime Minister Boris Johnson's vision for recovering from a pandemic that inflicted the worst death toll in Europe and worst recession in 300 years.
- Despite the year-long crisis, the U.K. has made major progress in the fight against the coronavirus thanks to a world-leading vaccine rollout. COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be fully lifted by this summer.
- In her speech, which is written by the government and not reflective of her own opinions, Queen Elizabeth laid out priorities that include additional funding for the National Health Service, achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and a ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ people.
What they're saying:
My government’s priority is to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before.
To achieve this, my government will level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth and addressing the impact of the pandemic on public services.— Queen Elizabeth II to members of parliament
Flashback: The 95-year-old queen delivered her first Queen's Speech in November 1953, when Winston Churchill was prime minister.