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Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Opening of parliament on day two means tight schedule for Queen

The Queen: never missed a day of Royal Ascot
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The state opening of parliament will clash with the second day of Royal Ascot next week, leaving the Queen with a tight schedule if she is not to miss the meeting for the first time in 64 years.

The Queen has not missed a day at Royal Ascot since her coronation in June 1953, but will be required to lay out the government’s legislative agenda for the next five years in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday.

Her speech was initially slated for Monday – the day before Royal Ascot – but the event was delayed to allow the Conservatives more time to form a minority government after failing to secure a majority at last week’s General Election, and for the ink to dry on the goatskin on which the speech is written.

Confirming the date, the leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom, said: "The government has agreed with Buckingham Palace that the state opening of parliament will take place on June 21, 2017."

The Queen will speak in the House of Lords at approximately 11.30am on Wednesday, leaving open the possibility of her reaching the course before the first race at 2.30.

This was the case in 2001, when a ten-minute speech was delivered to parliament before the Queen exited, changed from her ceremonial robes into her racing outfit and was taken under a police escort to Windsor Castle. She arrived at the course 15 minutes before the first race.

If she does make the dash from Westminster to Ascot, the Queen could struggle to make it to the course in time to take part in the traditional royal procession. This usually happens 30 minutes before the first race to allow the runners for the opener to reach the start.

Nick Smith, Ascot's director of racing and communications, said: "The full expectation is the Queen will take part in the state opening of parliament and attend Ascot later in the day."

Dartmouth leads the Queen's prospects of adding to her 23 Royal Ascot winners. He is among the leading contenders for the Hardwicke Stakes a week on Saturday.


The Queen's theoretical timeline

11am
The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace by car, instead of carriage, and heads to the Houses of Parliament.

11.15am
The Queen arrives at the Sovereign's Entrance at the Houses of Parliament

11.30am
The Queen delivers the Queen’s Speech from the throne in the House of Lords. This normally takes around ten minutes.

12pm
The Queen leaves parliament and returns to Buckingham Palace. Here she will change out of her ceremonial robes.

12.30pm
The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace and is driven to Windsor Castle. This should take an hour but roadworks are due to take place on the M4. In 2001 she had a police escort.

1.30pm
The Queen arrives at Windsor Castle. She meets up with members of the royal family and guests before leaving for Ascot at 2pm.

2.20pm
The Queen takes her seat in the royal box before cheering home her fancy in the first race, the Jersey Stakes.

Royal Ascot Wednesday cards and betting

We work around the royal family and will make plans once they have spoken to us about their plans
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