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ROBERT HARDMAN: The Queen is still very much in charge

The last time the Heir to the Throne opened Parliament, Britain was still subjecting prisoners to hanging, drawing and quartering. 

A new ship, the Beagle, was taking shape in a dockyard in the Thames, from where it would eventually set sail carrying a young naturalist called Charles Darwin.

And, as the future George IV addressed the Lords, announcing new measures against ‘seditious practices’ in British factories, his new-born niece was snoozing in her cot – the future Queen Victoria.

That underlines the significance of what we will see at Westminster this morning as the Prince of Wales reads the ‘Gracious Speech’ in the House of Lords.

It will still be known as the Queen’s Speech. They will not be her words, of course. Nor will they be the Prince’s. They will have been…

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