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Throne Speech > The King's Speech

The King's Speech

The motion we saw in the introduction uses rather archaic language, calling the members loyal subjects of the Queen. The wording reflects the long history of the Speech from the Throne and the debate on it. Today the Lieutenant Governor, the monarch's representative at the provincial level, reads the Speech from the Throne, but the words are not the Lieutenant Governor's and thus are not the words of the monarch. The contents of the speech are, in fact, written by the government. The monarch's representatives first started reading the Speech from the Throne during medieval times, when monarchs called Parliament when they wanted to and dictated their wishes to Parliament's members or appointed someone to do so. By the 18th century, however, the "King's Speech" contained the government's words, and although monarchs or their representatives might read them, they didn't necessarily agree with what was in them. In one instance in 1756, an industrious printer published a fake Speech from the Throne and was arrested. King George II remarked on that incident, "I hope the fellow's punishment will be light, for I have read both Speeches, the real and the false, and, so far as I understand them, I like the printer's speech better than my own."

     

   

   

   

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Voices of Politics
Former Governor General Edward Schreyer explains the Speech from the Throne as an expression of the Monarch's power. He then compares our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy to the United States' system of government.
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Reproduced from the Teacher's Guide to the Alberta Legislature, 1993 with the kind permission of the Legislative Assembly Office. 
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