St George’s Day: Speaker Lindsay Hoyle oversees the raising of The Cross of St George at Parliament

Nicholas Cecil
·2-min read
Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, Nigel Evans MP, Andrew Rosindell MP raising the flag of St George (Nigel Howard)
Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, Nigel Evans MP, Andrew Rosindell MP raising the flag of St George (Nigel Howard)

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today oversaw the raising of The Cross of St George for the first time in known memory at the main entrance of Parliament.

It was hoisted in New Palace Yard exactly 360 years since the coronation of Charles II.

Back on April 23 1661, the spot where the flag poles now stand would have borne witness to the new sovereign arriving from Westminster Abbey to take part in a banquet at Westminster Hall.

Music, dancing and a lavish feast would have filled the imposing 11th Century hall to celebrate the return of a monarch to the throne, marking the end of England’s short period as a republic.

Twelve years earlier, Westminster Hall had been the site of the trial of Charles I for treason, which led to his execution, following his failure to win two civil wars.

Commons traditions were shaped by the turmoil of this period, including the role of Speaker.

In 1642, Charles I entered the Chamber in an attempt to seize five MPs who he accused of plotting against him.

Nigel Howard
Nigel Howard

But when he asked Speaker William Lenthall where the five were, he famously replied: “I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as this House is pleased to direct me.”

It was the first time in English history that the Commons Speaker successfully defied the King to uphold Parliament’s privileges.

Sir Lindsay said: “I am very proud to fly the flag on St George’s Day at Parliament’s main entrance for the first time - but to do so 360 years since the coronation of Charles II, whose father locked horns with the then Speaker of the House of Commons, is particularly significant.

“I am also proud that the flagpoles, that were installed last month, stand at the entrance to Parliament.

“The King would have walked directly across where the flagpoles are situated and into Westminster Hall for his coronation banquet at the Restoration of the Monarchy.”

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