92 page pdf document the government has published details of the Queen's Speech 2013. The document sets out not only the speech itself but contains background details to the various Bills and policies referred to in the speech. The document merits a full reading by those seeking greater detail about what is planned.
A much shorter overview is at The Guardian 8th May - The Queen's Speech: the key points explained.
An Offender Rehabilitation Bill will extend statutory supervision after release at all those sentenced to short custodial sentences. This Bill will also give 'Probation Providers' greater flexibility to develop new interventions with a view to reducing re-offending. The Anti-Social Behaviour Bill will amend the existing law relating to anti-social behaviour with some 19 powers being condensed to 6; make forced marriage a criminal offence; amend the Dangerous Dogs legislation and take further action on illegal firearms. The law on extradition will be amended as recommendations of Sir Scott Baker's review are implemented. A DRAFT Consumer Rights Bill is to be introduced and this will allow parliamentary examination of how the law might be altered to modernise and improve consumer rights. This is an area where there is a great deal of existing legislation and clarification is welcome. In response to the Hargreaves Review, an Intellectual Property Bill will reform the intellectual property framework for designs. The Unified Patents Court will be implemented.
An excellent analysis of the Bills is at Politics.co.uk - Queen's Speech 2013: All the Bills in full.
The State Opening used to be held in October but,
when the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 was implemented, the date was changed to the spring. This was criticised at the time. The State Opening brings together the Queen, the House of Lords and the House of Commons - the "Queen in Parliament". Also the three arms of government (legislature, executive, judiciary) are in attendance as Her Majesty reads the speech. In practice, the speech is prepared by the government of the day.
The picture shows the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor handing over the speech. Having read it, Her Majesty handed the speech back to the Lord Chancellor. It is interesting that the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor has this role in the Lords given that he is not a member of the House of Lords. See Chris Grayling's wikipedia entry - he is MP for Epsom and Ewell.
Until implementation of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Lord Chancellor was invariably a peer and presided over the House of Lords. He was a member of the executive and also Head of the Judiciary. The last Lord Chancellor to preside over the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords was Lord Irvine of Lairg (Lord Chancellor from 1997 to 2003). Lord Falconer of Thoroton (2003 to 2007) declined to do so. The 2005 Act created the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom which started hearing cases in 2009 when its premises in Parliament Square were ready.
Today, the House of Lords has its own Lord Speaker and the Head of the Judiciary is the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
Parliament - State Opening