Ceremonial in the House of Lords. This Library Note focuses on the principal ceremonies that take place in the House of Lords, including the State Opening, presenting the Speaker of the House of Commons, Royal Assent, prorogation and dissolution, and the Introduction of peers. It also describes the role of Royal Commissions, the roles of the Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain, other notable ceremonies (the Lord Speaker’s Procession and presentation of an Address to the Sovereign) and finally looks at proposals for reform.

The House of Lords Bill 1998–99 sought to abolish the right of all hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords, and represented the most significant attempt to reform the House for some years. During the Lords consideration of the Bill, Lord Weatherill moved an amendment to allow 92 hereditary peers to remain as Members of the House. Thus the amendment, which was accepted in both Houses and became part of the House of Lords Act 1999, has become known as the ‘Weatherill amendment’. This Library Note provides a history of the amendment and outlines developments since 1999.