Queen's speech stresses British focus on economy
Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the British government's legislative programme for the next year Wednesday, stressing its "overriding priority" was to bolster the economy against looming recession.
The lavish ceremony surrounding the Queen's Speech -- when she speaks from a gold throne in the House of Lords, wearing an ermine robe and a crown studded with nearly 3,000 diamonds -- contrasted with her message of economic caution.
In a 10-minute address written by Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government, the queen said ministers would introduce a banking bill to boost protection for depositors after a year of turbulence in the sector in Britain.
This saw the near-collapse of Northern Rock, which was nationalised in February; last week's de facto nationalisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland; and the impending takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB.
"My government's overriding priority is to secure the stability of the British economy during the global economic downturn," she told lawmakers and peers crammed into the House of Lords.