James Grundy MP: ​King's coronation was an enjoyable historic national event

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Firstly, I hope that all readers of the Observer enjoyed the various festivities on offer all across the borough to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III the weekend before last.

It was heartening to see so many residents decorate their streets and houses with both pictures of His Majesty and Union Flag bunting in honour of this historic national event.

I and my staff got in on the act by decorating the constituency office with pictures of our new King and the national flag.

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As I have mentioned before on the occasion of her late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, the monarch also serves as Duke of Lancaster (regardless of gender), meaning that Leigh, as part of the traditional county of Lancashire, also has a new Duke.

Leigh MP James GrundyLeigh MP James Grundy
Leigh MP James Grundy

For those unaware, this means that the people of Leigh (as with anywhere else in the historic county of Lancashire,) when responding to the Royal Toast, are entitled to reply “The King, The Duke of Lancaster”, rather than just “The King” which is an honour accorded to no other county in the UK.

The historic reasons for the monarch’s use of this title relates to the outcome of the Wars of the Roses, when the House of Lancaster in the person of Henry VII triumphed over the House of York in the person of Richard III.

Since then, the reigning monarch has always held the title of Duke of Lancaster.

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Now that we have a new monarch, it will also be necessary for Parliament to convene to hear a new King’s Speech which will take place in a few months-time at the state opening of Parliament.

This is now largely a ceremonial role as of course, since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the monarch’s role has become that of a constitutional monarch rather than a monarchy with executive powers.

Whilst this status was formalised in 1688, it took until the Victorian era for the full range of constraints and limitations to be fully implemented.

In brief this means that the monarch plays no role in the implementation of government policy which lies solely in the hands of the elected government, although at the King’s Speech the monarch reads out a list of policy priorities and forthcoming laws that the government is seeking to bring forward.

The first King’s Speech of a new monarch will, of course, be a similarly important state occasion and one I look forward to attending as the Member of Parliament for the Leigh constituency.

It is very unusual for an MP to be in office for the coronation of a new monarch, after all, there is no one currently serving in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords who was an MP or Peer at the time of the last one, and I feel privileged to be in office during this series of historic events.