Europe

Pomp meets politics in Britain's annual Queen's Speech

  • Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron addresses members of a World Economic Forum event focusing on Britain's  EU referendum in London, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron addresses members of a World Economic Forum event focusing on Britain's EU referendum in London, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • The Imperial State Crown  travels in a carriage from Buckingham Palace towards the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Britain's Queen Elizabeth will wear the crown as she makes her speech to Parliament.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    The Imperial State Crown travels in a carriage from Buckingham Palace towards the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Britain's Queen Elizabeth will wear the crown as she makes her speech to Parliament.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)  (The Associated Press)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth's Imperial State Crown arrives at the Royal Gallery before the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday May 18, 2016. The Queen will give a speech to parliament above the government's programme for the upcoming parliamentary year . (Eddie Mulholland/Pool via AP)

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth's Imperial State Crown arrives at the Royal Gallery before the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Wednesday May 18, 2016. The Queen will give a speech to parliament above the government's programme for the upcoming parliamentary year . (Eddie Mulholland/Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Queen Elizabeth II is donning an ermine robe and diamond-studded crown to announce the British government's plans for the coming year at the ceremonial State Opening of Parliament.

The speech is set to contain a mix of bread-and-butter legislative announcements and lofty aspirations from what Prime Minister David Cameron calls his "one-nation government" of compassionate conservatism.

Cameron says the most dramatic prison reforms since the 19th-century will feature in Wednesday's speech, which is written by the government but read out by the monarch from a gilded throne. Cameron says prison governors will be given more powers to ensure that the institutions are no longer "warehouses for criminals."

The speech is also expected to include measures to clamp down on extremist preachers that will be closely watched by free-speech groups.