Letter: Opening myth

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The Independent Online
Alan Watkins is promulgating a myth in saying that the ceremony connected with the State Opening of Parliament dates back to the last century ("Lawyers welcome the season of mists and silly Bills", 27 October). Queen Victoria reduced the number of occasions when the Sovereign attends by ceasing to go when Parliament is prorogued at the end of the session.

In a sense the monarch's speech at the beginning of the session goes back to the Middle Ages, when it was normally read by the Lord Chancellor, but it was not until the reign of James I and VI that the monarch began to regularly read his own speech.The occasion was a spectacle even then, important enough for Guy Fawkes to try to blow it up a few years later, so adding a search of the vaults to the ritual. George Chowdharay- Best

London SW3