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Consort’s throne missing from state opening

·3-min read

The consort’s throne was missing from the State Opening of Parliament in the wake of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh and amid the pandemic.

In the House of Lords, a single ornate Sovereign’s Throne stood under the gold canopy for the Queen during Tuesday’s ceremony.

In previous years, there was a pair of thrones where Philip, before his retirement, sat next to the monarch during the grand ceremonial occasion over the many decades of his public service.

Queens speech
The duke watched the Queen read her speech from his consort’s throne in 2002 (PA)

The Prince of Wales has used the consort’s throne when accompanying the Queen to the event in the past.

At the Covid-secure occasion of the 2021 state opening, Charles instead sat with the Duchess of Cornwall on chairs of state, placed to the far side of the Queen.

It was decided the additional throne would not be used because restrictions meant Charles was sat separately from his mother, and also to avoid unnecessary travel in retrieving the throne.

Royal Year
The Queen and Charles on the throne in 2019 (Aaron Chown/PA)

The prince will be expected to use it in the future and sit next to his mother if arrangements for state openings return to normal in non-Covid times.

The State Opening of Parliament was the Queen’s first major public ceremonial duty since the death of Philip, her beloved husband of 73 years, on April 9.

Charles spoke of there being an “empty seat” at his family’s table during a video message posted by the education and integration charity Naz Legacy Foundation ahead of Eid celebrations which mark the end of Ramadan.

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The prince wished Muslims an Eid Mubarak, adding: “This year so many families, like my own, will have an empty seat at their dinner table and friends are no longer able to share the celebratory hug after Eid prayer.”

The consort’s throne, which was first installed in 1901 for Queen Alexandra, is in the care of the Lord Great Chamberlain the Marquess of Cholmondeley for safekeeping.

Queen’s speech 2021
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall seated apart from the Queen (Chris Jackson/PA)

The throne usually remains at the Marquess’ Houghton Hall home in Norfolk unless needed at the state opening.

It is almost identical to the sovereign’s throne, but is one inch shorter.

The Sovereign’s Throne is made of elaborately carved gilded woodwork, inset with rock crystals and upholstered in red velvet and intricate embroidery.

It is one of the most important items of furniture in the Palace of Westminster.

It was designed by architect and author AWN Pugin in 1847 and was influenced by the Edward II’s 1308 Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey.