He and Queen Camilla had come for the King’s Speech, the final legislative programme before the general election due by January 2025.

The first King’s Speech from Rishi Sunak, it could also be the Prime Minister’s last if Labour wins at the polls.

The programme of Bills includes many focused on crime and punishment in England and Wales, as well as plans to phase out tobacco by raising the purchasing age each year.

Among the protestors, long-time LGBTQ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described the opening of Parliament as an “absurd contradiction” that is “not compatible with democracy”.

The 71-year-old told the PA news agency: “It’s an absurd contradiction that an unelected monarch head of state is opening a democratic, elected parliament – that is not compatible with democracy.

“We want a democratically elected head of state, voted for by the people and accountable to the people, it is what most modern democracies have.

“Monarchy is an anachronism, it’s a residue from feudalism and before, it’s time we had a democratically-elected head of state.”

He said the monarchy symbolised “elitism, privilege, snobbery, deference and huge social inequality”, adding: “The royals have 23 palaces and luxury residence, 700 servants and a combined personal wealth of £2 billion on which they pay not a penny of inheritance tax – that’s outrageous,” he said.

CEO of Republic, Graham Smith, called the King’s Speech a “pantomime” that advertises “how stupid our constitution is”.


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