London (United Kingdom)
From our correspondent
What is the Speech from the Throne?
For the first time since his accession to the throne on September 8, 2022, Charles III was this Tuesday, November 7 in Westminster to deliver the king’s speech on the occasion of the opening ceremony of Parliament. This text presents the government’s program for the new parliamentary session which will end with the general election scheduled for next year, on a date currently undetermined. From the 15th century until King James II (overthrown in 1688 by Oliver Cromwell), the sovereign and his advisors drafted the text, which was intended to inform Parliament of future resolutions. Absolute monarchy ended with the Bill of Rights of 1689, transforming the country into a constitutional monarchy. Executive power then passed into the hands of Parliament. Since then, even if each part of the speech begins with the words of the king “My government”, the Prime Minister and his team are the sole authors.
What was the content of this first speech by Charles III?
While polls put his party on average twenty points behind Labor, this twelve-minute speech is of particular importance for Rishi Sunak. The conservative Prime Minister has little time to convince floating voters if he wants to keep power after the next election. The strongest and most commented measure of his program is the planned allocation each year of new oil and gas drilling licenses in the North Sea. It aims, officially, to “strengthen the UK’s energy security and reduce dependence on unstable international energy markets and hostile foreign regimes”. But the government’s promises raise some doubts: most of the oil and gas extracted under the first license, awarded in September, will be destined for European Union countries… Another flagship announcement, the construction of a memorial on the Holocaust outside Parliament in Westminster. A promise linked to current events in the Middle East and the 537% increase in anti-Semitic acts (over one year), particularly since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Could Charles III have changed the government program?
Written in ink on goatskin parchment, the speech is given to the king just before he delivers it. The measure on oil and gas drilling, even if it was known, must have remained in the throat of the most ecological sovereign the United Kingdom has known, and who announced his participation in COP28 in Dubai at the end of November . “As Prince of Wales he had all kinds of strong opinions, but now that he is king he has to make this speech without letting on what he thinks,” recalls historian Anthony Seldon. This day encapsulates hundreds of years of British history, such as the fact that sovereignty lies with Parliament, with the people, and not in the hands of the monarch. » Charles III cannot take sides. At the risk of provoking a questioning of the monarchy.