Queen opens Parliament with speech, ceremony and bling

Queen Elizabeth II opened a new session of Britain's Parliament Wednesday morning in a traditional ceremony, CBS News' Charlie D'Agata reports.

Even by royal standards, it's the one day the queen goes big. The three pound, diamond-studded Imperial State Crown, the 18-foot ermine fur cape, it's kind of like a State of the Union address but with enough dizzying bling to make a Kardashian blush.

"It is a bit of showing off, it is a bit of British pomp and pageantry, but at the same time it shows the very interesting relationship between the monarchy and state," royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah said.

That very interesting relationship means that the government, on a symbolic level at least, answers to the queen. Her majesty may not call the shots, but she is the head of state, which makes this ceremonial song and dance less like prom night than a reminder of who's the boss.

Elizabeth has been the center of this showpiece since taking the crown in 1953, seeing off 12 prime ministers through the years, from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher to David Cameron, who's just been re-elected.

She jumped into her horse-drawn Diamond Jubilee carriage, flanked by her loyal household cavalry, and made her way from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament. A bit of theater unfolds -- a traditional nod to the past -- where Black Rod, the queen's messenger, summons members of Parliament.

Then the queen delivers the Queen's Speech. Not written by the queen at all but by the government, literally putting words in her mouth, and spelling out all the promises that they hope to keep but often don't in year ahead. It's duly delivered without a hint of emotion, good or bad.

The queen's husband, Prince Philip, sits by her side, looking like he'd rather be anywhere else in the world.