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Queen Elizabeth Lays Out Government Agenda in Traditional Speech

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II travels in a carriage from Buckingham Palace towards the Houses of Parliament in London, May 27, 2015.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has made a formal speech before Parliament to lay out the agenda for the Conservative government, including a promise of an in-or-out popular vote on European Union membership.

The queen appeared before the lawmaking body Wednesday, at the State Opening of Parliament, in full regalia, as is the yearly tradition by the British monarch.

She read a speech outlining the goals of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party, which include a promised referendum on European Union membership. Cameron has said he favors EU reform rather than Britain's withdrawal, but will not rule anything out. In her speech the queen promised the government will "renegotiate" British membership in the EU.

The speech also included promises to cap welfare benefits and freeze some taxes for five years.

Since the May 7 election, Cameron presides over the first British government in decades to have a full Conservative majority, rather than a coalition.

The State Opening of Parliament is a yearly event held with members of Parliament and the royal family in full formal dress, repeating traditions that have been in place for centuries.

Queen Elizabeth wore a full-length gown, ermine cape, and a crown weighing nearly a kilogram. Her husband, Prince Philip, son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, accompanied her for her appearance Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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