Moving film was just in its infancy and the state opening of Parliament was one of the first high profile Royal Events ever captured on film.


The first sitting of the new parliament of Northern Ireland was held in early 1921 at Belfast City Hall, with King George V officially opening proceedings on 22 June 1921.

The ceremony took place against a background of continuing Republican violence in Northern Ireland, and there was a heavy security presence as the sovereign steamed into Belfast Lough and made his way by carriage to City Hall.

Here, King George delivered a speech calling for:

“all Irishmen to pause, to stretch out the hand of forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and forget, and join in making for the land they love a new era of peace, contentment and goodwill.”


On the morning of 22 June 1921 King George V and Queen Mary arrived in Belfast for the formal opening of the Northern Ireland parliament.

The Belfast Corporation prepared for the event by decorating the City Hall and surrounding buildings, building stands to accommodate spectators, and placing restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

There was also a substantial security presence, with over a thousand police and troops stationed along the procession route. Following the opening of parliament, the Royal couple then visited the Ulster Hall before leaving Belfast on the same day.

Several British newsreel companies, such as Pathé and Gaumont, sent camera crews to Belfast to film the royal visit. This footage, shown in cinemas across Britain and Ireland, can be viewed below.

State Opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament

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