Queen supported by Prince Charles as she carries out first major royal duty since Prince Philip’s death

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The Queen carried out her first major ceremonial duty as head of state since her husband Prince Philip's death last month at the State Opening of Parliament today, 11 May.

The 95 year old travelled from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster in a Bentley as opposed to a horse-drawn carriage.

She swapped the traditional long crimson velvet Robe of State for a simpler look, wearing a grey day dress and a hat.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II teamed the look with black flat shoes and a matching handbag.

The monarch's son Prince Charles, 72, supported her at the event as he held her hand. The pair were accompanied by his 73 year old wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales has been by the Queen's side for the last three state openings, including two in 2019 and one in 2017 after the Duke of Edinburgh fell ill with an infection two months before he retired from his royal duties.

The Queen will mark the beginning of the parliamentary session by delivering the Queen's Speech, which sets out the legislative plans.

A total of 108 people will be attending, including 17 MPs and 17 members of the House of Lords. Those participating will wear face masks and get tested for the deadly bug prior to the event.

The Queen will not wear the Imperial State Crown, which is made of more than 3,000 gemstones and weighs two pounds and 13 ounces, as it will instead be carried on a cushion and placed on a table nearby.

The parliament website confirmed yesterday: “This year's ceremony will be a reduced, COVID-secure event”.

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A spokesperson for No 10 said: “While we are still in the middle of a pandemic this Queen’s Speech will look quite different, but it is important we take forward our plans and deliver policies to improve the lives of people across the country through a new parliamentary session.”

Royal commentator Alastair Bruce said that while Prince Philip would not be by the Queen's side, she would feel his "encouragement".

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "It is a much-reduced event but it's delivering that purposeful and punctuation-like constitutional moment before the start of the new session.

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"Nothing would've stopped her from doing it.

"The Queen has seen people all over the country doing their duties – whatever they may be – and people going through a lot in losing people to COVID."

"For the Queen, to lose her husband was very sad, but he had lived a full life and had been constantly at her side so I think she will feel the steadiness of his encouragement today," he added.

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