THE State Opening of Parliament has been branded a “play act” that covers up the royal family’s sway over legislation in the UK.

Scottish anti-monarchy group Our Republic has slated the event whose archaic traditions are meant to symbolise the Parliament’s independence from the Crown.

Highlighting the fact the monarchy continues to be able to vet legislation that goes through the Commons, Convener Tristan Gray described the “pantomime” event as having “false legitimacy”.

One of the most well-known scenes in the State Opening is when Black Rod – a senior officer in the House of Lords appointed by the Crown – has the Commons door slammed in their face to illustrate the Parliament’s apparent independence from the state.

Gray told The National: “It’s just a pantomime really when the Black Rod knows the door is going to get shut in their face but has to do it anyway.

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“It’s a play act to cover up the fact that royal household gets to vet every piece of legislation that goes through the House of Commons to ensure it does not affect them.

“We know that environmental regulations, for example, do not fully apply to royal estates. The King paints himself as an environmental campaigner but then does not actually need to follow the same regulations as everyone else.”

A Guardian investigation published in 2022 exposed a Scottish Government memo that suggested laws had been amended in order to secure Queen Elizabeth’s approval in the mechanism known as Crown Consent.   

The memo suggested that the monarch vetted 67 acts, the majority dealing with property taxation, planning laws, and protections from tenants. 

The Crown Consent mechanism ensures that any proposed laws cannot be implemented without the approval of the sitting monarch if the bill might affect their public powers of private interests. 

Gray went on criticise some articles in the media which have insisted it must be difficult for the King to read aloud a speech which is likely to see Rishi Sunak row back on environmental commitments, insisting his portrayal as a person who cares about the planet is just a PR stunt.

Gray told The National: “I’m relieved Scotland does not have to go through this charade every year. I’m relieved we have a Parliament that can focus on working for its constituents without lending some false legitimacy to proceedings.

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“We see that [false legitimacy] most clearly with articles saying how hard it must be for Charles to be making this speech when the Tories are ripping apart tearing up environmental measures because he’s done a successful PR job making himself out as someone who cares about the environment.

“He could always abdicate and use some of his billions to help support efforts to tackle climate change, but he won’t because it’s just PR.”

Our Republic has said it will be following a major demonstration by partner organisation Republic in London closely and will be promoting the group’s activities on its social media pages.

The King’s Speech – which marks the start of a new parliamentary session - will be Charles’s first as monarch after deputising for his mother the Queen last year.

He set out the legislative programme for the coming year but had no role in setting this, reading it out on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Government.