Queen's Speech opens new session of UK Parliament amid Brexit deadlock

24 2019 Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace

Queen's Speech in UK as crunch Brexit week looms

Ireland says a Brexit deal may be possible in the coming days, after technical teams from Britain and the European Union worked through the weekend.

The package of 26 bills will include legislation to keep serious criminals in prison for longer, impose tougher sentences on foreign offenders who return to the United Kingdom and provide better protection for victims of domestic abuse. The crown was made for King George VI's coronation in 1937, based on a crown designed for Queen Victoria in 1838. It contains a number of priceless gems including the Second Star of Africa, the Black Prince's Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire and St Edward's Sapphire and sat on a cushion nearby.

She wore a blue jacket and hat, much remarked-upon in the wake of the Brexit vote, rather than the crown.

The speech outlined 26 new bills, most of which were anti-crime Bills.

The Queen's guards march in front of Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament.

Members of the Household Cavalry arrive for the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II.

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The choice was a matter of personal preference for the 93-year-old monarch.

The queen has performed this duty more than 60 times during her 67-year reign.

The crown and ceremonial accessories were absent from the Queen's outfit in 1974, following then-prime minister Ted Heath's decision to call a snap election.

Instead, she wore the diamond diadem recognisable from her profile on British stamps and coins, while the crown rested on a table beside her.

"Because if you look down, your neck would break and the crown would fall off".

But with Brexit in the balance before a crucial week of talks, and an unpredictable election likely soon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused by rival parties of misusing the politically-neutral queen by asking her to set out his election agenda.

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According to the BBC, leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn said: "Having a Queen's Speech and a State Opening of Parliament is ludicrous".

The speech was part of the State Opening of Parliament, a ceremony steeped in centuries-old symbolism of the power struggle between Parliament and the British monarchy.

The pageantry of the Queen's Speech began at 10 a.m., when the Yeomen of the Guard, the royal bodyguards known as "Beefeaters", searched the cellars of Parliament.

The Queen's Speech is an official event that requires MPs to vote on its subject matter following a debate.

The main sticking point remains the border between European Union member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland: how to prevent it becoming a backdoor into the European Union after Brexit without erecting controls that could undermine the 1998 peace agreement that largely ended three decades of sectarian violence.

In a sign that the Brexit optimism which followed Johnson's meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar last week may have been premature, EU diplomats now say the best chance of a deal would be to keep Northern Ireland in the EU's customs union. However, EU leaders have told Britain more work needs to be done to get a deal across the line.

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Some resolution is expected when the British parliament holds its first Saturday sitting since the 1982 Falklands War.

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