The current British Parliament session, which opened on Wednesday, May 9, is expected to introduce legislation on the pressing topics of the day, from banking reform to plans for increased Internet monitoring. But the modern work of legislating begins in Britain with a thoroughly traditional beginning.
As she has every year since her accession in 1952 (except for the two years when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward) Queen Elizabeth II gave the opening speech to Parliament, surrounded by the pomp and circumstance one would expect from a royal appearance. Above, the ruling constitutional monarch, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh -- delivers a speech to the House of Lords on May 9, 2012, in London, England. Here, we take a tour of a royal's day in the spotlight of Westminster.