Episode 4: Head of State
Queen Elizabeth performs her royal duties as the symbolic leader of the British Government
For the dramatic ritual that opens Parliament, the Queen's coachmen don full livery and her horse-drawn carriages parade through the streets. One holds the Queen, while another carries the crown jewels. "Head of State" follows the Queen as she conducts her official duties as the head of Britain's constitutional monarchy.
We watch as she presides over the elaborate state opening of Parliament and attends the weekly private audience between Her Majesty and the British Prime Minister. It is his job to keep the Queen informed; it is her duty to impart the wisdom she's learned from nine of his predecessors.
The royal job also entails extensive travel. Although the Queen has seen almost every country on earth, no monarch has ever set foot in the former Soviet republics of the Baltic States. In an historic visit to the newly democratic Republic of Estonia, the Ambassador, his wife, and their staff have attended to every detail.
Quiz: Constitutional Monarchy
Does the queen reign or rule? Test your knowledge.
Head of State:
The Queen presides over the ceremonial opening of Parliament, marking the beginning of the British political season.