On Wednesday, May 27, 2015 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess ...
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For more information about today’s opening as well as to watch a video please click here.
On Wednesday, May 27, 2015, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark visited the Psykiatrifondens Reach Out Bus as well as presided over a “…information session, with 6th grade students from the Ruds Vedby Skole, on mental health and well-being…” according to the Danish royal court.
Photo courtesy of Kongehuset
On May 27, 2015, His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium hosted a reception at Château de Laeken for representatives of the Jewish community in Belgium. Earlier, His Majesty accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Mathilde held an audience with the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and his wife, Yoo Soon-taek, at the Palais de Bruxelles.
Photos courtesy of the Belgian royal court.
On Wednesday, May 27, 2015 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall presided over the 2015 State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London.
During today’s opening Her Majesty gave the traditional speech to the House of Lords which “…sets out the government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation…”
Here is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s speech in full:
“My Lords and members of the House of Commons.
My government will legislate in the interests of everyone in our country. It will adopt a one nation approach, helping working people get on, supporting aspiration, giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged and bringing different parts of our country together.
My government will continue with its long-term plan to provide economic stability and security at every stage of life. They will continue the work of bringing the public finances under control and reducing the deficit, so Britain lives within its means. Measures will be introduced to raise the productive potential of the economy and increase living standards.
Legislation will be brought forward to help achieve full employment and provide more people with the security of a job. New duties will require my ministers to report annually on job creation and apprenticeships. Measures will also be introduced to reduce regulation on small businesses so they can create jobs.
Legislation will be brought forward to ensure people working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage do not pay income tax, and to ensure there are no rises in Income Tax rates, Value Added Tax or National Insurance for the next 5 years.
Measures will be brought forward to help working people by greatly increasing the provision of free childcare.
Legislation will be introduced to support home ownership and give housing association tenants the chance to own their own home.
Measures will be introduced to increase energy security and to control immigration. My government will bring forward legislation to reform trade unions and to protect essential public services against strikes.
To give new opportunities to the most disadvantaged, my government will expand the Troubled Families programme and continue to reform welfare, with legislation encouraging employment by capping benefits and requiring young people to earn or learn.
Legislation will be brought forward to improve schools and give every child the best start in life, with new powers to take over failing and coasting schools and create more academies.
In England, my government will secure the future of the National Health Service by implementing the National Health Service’s own 5 year plan, by increasing the health budget, integrating healthcare and social care, and ensuring the National Health Service works on a 7 day basis. Measures will be introduced to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare.
Measures will also be brought forward to secure the real value of the basic State Pension, so that more people live in dignity and security in retirement. Measures will be brought forward to increase the rights of victims of crime.
To bring different parts of our country together, my government will work to bring about a balanced economic recovery. Legislation will be introduced to provide for the devolution of powers to cities with elected metro mayors, helping to build a northern powerhouse.
My government will continue to legislate for high-speed rail links between the different parts of the country.
My government will also bring forward legislation to secure a strong and lasting constitutional settlement, devolving wide-ranging powers to Scotland and Wales. Legislation will be taken forward giving effect to the Stormont House Agreement in Northern Ireland.
My government will continue to work in cooperation with the devolved administrations on the basis of mutual respect.
My government will bring forward changes to the standing orders of the House of Commons. These changes will create fairer procedures to ensure that decisions affecting England, or England and Wales, can be taken only with the consent of the majority of Members of Parliament representing constituencies in those parts of our United Kingdom.
My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all member states.
Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.
Measures will also be brought forward to promote social cohesion and protect people by tackling extremism. New legislation will modernise the law on communications data, improve the law on policing and criminal justice, and ban the new generation of psychoactive drugs.
My government will bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights.
Members of the House of Commons.
Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.
My Lords and members of the House of Commons
My government will continue to play a leading role in global affairs, using its presence all over the world to re-engage with and tackle the major international security, economic and humanitarian challenges.
My ministers will remain at the forefront of the NATO alliance and of international efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat terrorism in the Middle East.
The United Kingdom will continue to seek a political settlement in Syria, and will offer further support to the Iraqi government’s programme for political reform and national reconciliation.
My government will maintain pressure on Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and will insist on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
My government looks forward to an enhanced partnership with India and China.
Prince Philip and I look forward to our state visit to Germany next month and to our state visit to Malta in November, alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. We also look forward to welcoming His Excellency the President of The People’s Republic of China and Madame Peng on a state visit in October.
My government will seek effective global collaboration to sustain economic recovery and to combat climate change, including at the climate change conference in Paris later this year.
My government will undertake a full strategic defence and security review, and do whatever is necessary to ensure that our courageous armed forces can keep Britain safe.
My government will work to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons, cyber attacks and terrorism.
Other measures will be laid before you.
My Lords and members of the House of Commons
I pray that the blessing of almighty God may rest upon your counsels.”
For more information about the State Opening of Parliament 2015 as well as to view photos please click the links below.
On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway opened the 2015 Norwegian Festival of Literature in Lillehammer. Established in 1995, the NFL is largest literature festival in all of Scandinavia with over 24,000 visitors last year.
Those attending this fantastic event this year can look forward to seeing Canadian author, Ms. Margaret Atwood as well as the “… Jordanian comic writer Bakhit Suleiman, up and coming French author Edouard Louis, and renowned Chinese author, Bei Dao (who will give the opening address)…” according to a press release.
Prior to her arrival to the festival Crown Princess Mette-Marit was aboard the Train of Literature which began in Trondheim to Hamar.
Please click here to watch videos.
Photo courtesy of Kongehuset
On May 26, 2015, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain officially opened the 12th Edition of the Carbon Expo Trade Fair and Conference held at the Fira de Barcelona.
The three-day event has become the “…leading platform for progressive businesses, finance and governments, facilitating innovation, promoting enhanced understanding of new policy instruments and identifying ways to access and leverage climate finance, especially between countries facing comparable challenges…”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium hosted a luncheon at the Palais de Bruxelles for jury members from the Concours Reine Élisabeth (Queen Elisabeth Music Competition).
Photos courtesy of the Belgian royal court
On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan arrived at the Peace Monument in Yokoami Park in Tokyo to remember the 100,000 victims of the Great Tokyo Air Raid.
“The Imperial Couple laid bouquets of white chrysanthemums in front of tablets commemorating those who died…” notes the Japan Times. Today’s visit was “…part of a series of trips the Emperor and Empress have made to pay tribute to the war dead on the occasion of the 70th anniversary [of the ending World War II].”
On Monday, May 25, 2015, Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan accompanied by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah and other members of the Jordanian royal family attended a ceremony in Amman to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the independence of Jordan (aka Independence Day).
According to Petra News, during’s ceremony His Majesty “…bestowed medals and orders of various types upon several institutions and a group of distinguished figures in recognition of their efforts in supporting the Kingdom’s ongoing development.”
On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan arrived at The National Art Center in Roppongi (a district in Tokyo) to view the exhibition, Musée du Louvre: Peinture de Genre – Scènes de la vie Quotidienne.
The exhibition, organized in collaboration with the The National Art Center, Musée du Louvre, Nippon Television Network Corporation, and Yomiuri Shimbun, consists of:
“…83 works that were carefully selected from the Musée du Louvre’s massive collection, traces the development of genre painting across four centuries, from the Renaissance to the mid-19th century. In addition to Vemeer’s ‘The Astronomer’, which will be shown in Japan for the first time, the exhibition presents works by prominent painters from every era and region including Tiziano, Rembrandt, Murillo, Watteau, Chardin, and Millet, allowing viewers to enjoy the diverse charms of genre painting.”
Musée du Louvre: Peinture de Genre – Scènes de la vie Quotidienne will be open to the public until June 1, 2015.
On Monday, May 25, 2015, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan attended the Vienna Boys’ Choir concert held at Suntory Hall in Tokyo.
Earlier in the day Their Imperial Majesties met with the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mr. Najib Razak, and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, at the Imperial Palace.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
On Monday, May 25, 2015, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan accompanied by the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzō Abe, attended a memorial service for “… Japan’s unidentified war dead…” held at the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery in Tokyo.
According to the newspaper, Japan Times, the remains of:
“…2,498 unidentified soldiers were brought home by the government and other groups from places including the Papua New Guinea’s Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands and Russia. With the addition, the number of the war dead honored at the cemetery totals 362,570…”
On Sunday, May 24, 2015, His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales participated in the Maserati Jerudong Trophy match held at the Cirencester Park Polo Club in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England.
According to the Telegraph newspaper, Sunday’s match “…benefited two charities of which Prince Harry is patron: WellChild, which supports the families of sick children, and MapAction, which works in disaster zones to provide information on where relief help is needed.”