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Wow. The strength of traditions is incredible. Impressed.

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government -- Edward Abbey
by serik berik (serik[dot]berik on Gmail) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 01:29:00 PM EST
If anything I underplayed the ceremony. Even so things have been played down in recent years. We no longer have elderly gentlemen walking backwards in front of the Queen (so as not to turn their back on the sovereign).

I also did not note the gorgeous robes of the heralds, the uniforms of the officers of state and the red Parliamentary robes (with appropriate bits of animal fur attached to indicate how grand the peer is) of the Lords in attendance (who get to sit in the monarchs presence, unlike the Commons who have to stand).

I refer you to the Wikipedia article for more details of the preposterous events, most of which have deep historical roots and symbolic importance. I see the Imperial State Crown gets brought to Parliament in its own coach - but does that sort of thing not happen in all modern democracies.

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Opening_of_Parliament]

by Gary J on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 07:08:37 PM EST
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Spain doesn't have anything of the sort. Must not be a fully functioning modern democracy. ;-)

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 07:11:58 PM EST
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A revolution every generation or two probably sweeps away the traditions of the ancien regime. Since England/Great Britain/UK has not had a revolution for more than 300 years (and the revolutionaries of 1688/89 were conservative aristocrats deeply attached to tradition) the constitutional cobwebs never got swept away.

Things just accumulated over the centuries and were woven into a tapestry of custom. For example the ceremonial inspection of the cellars is not a real security measure. It is just that as the authorities found Guy Fawkes and some barrels of gunpowder down there in 1605, it became traditional for people in strange historic costumes to always go and check the cellars before the State Opening of Parliament. No doubt they lovingly recreated the cellars after the old Palace of Westminster burnt down in the nineteenth century, so that the ceremony could go on unchanged.

by Gary J on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 08:51:13 PM EST
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