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Queen sets out British government agenda in opulent pageant of pomp and politics

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Buckingham Palace in London after her address to Parliament at the official State Opening of Parliament ceremony at Westminster on May 9, 2012.

The Associated Press reports — Queen Elizabeth II says Britain's government plans to finally reform the centuries-old House of Lords and introduce direct elections for its members.

Attempts to overhaul the unelected 700-year-old upper chamber — which does not make laws but can amend legislation — have frustrated British leaders for decades, with peers reluctant to agree to changes.

Announcing the government's new legislative program Wednesday in an opulent pageant of pomp and politics, the queen said planned laws would introduce a smaller, mainly upper elected chamber.

Read the full text of the Queen's Speech.

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Cleaning staff prepare the Sovereign's Entrance at the Houses of Parliament, ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II.

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Queen Elizabeth II proceeds through the Royal Gallery in the Palace of Westminster.

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, proceed through the Royal Gallery in the Palace of Westminster.

Queen Elizabeth gave her annual speech to Britain's Parliament, setting out the country's agenda for the next year.  The queen said the first priority would be to reduce the deficit and restore economic stability through spending cuts.  ITN's Tom Bradby reports.

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As she marks her Diamond Jubilee, view images from the extraordinary life and long reign of Queen Elizabeth II.