The British Parliament is expected to open later than usual due to a chaotic political situation and a document made of goatskin.
The Queen’s Speech to parliament, which outlines the government’s priorities for the coming year, marks the start of the legislative session. It is currently scheduled for June 19, but Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to find an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party to form a government.
While May still has six days to go, the tradition to write the speech on thick goatskin parchment could postpone the speech. The material allows the document to be preserved in archives for up to 500 years. The downside is that the ink takes at least three days to dry.
Queen Elizabeth II is on a tight schedule this summer and moving the speech would clash with her annual trip to Royal Ascot, one of the world’s most prestigious horse-racing events.
Many believe the government is using the goatskin as an excuse to buy more time in the process of forming a minority government.
Paul Wright, the general manager of parchment maker William Cowley, said the speech could be printed in just 10 minutes if they use a different ink.
“If you choose ink ‘a’ it will dry in 20 seconds, if you choose ink ‘b’ it will take days to dry, Wright explained in an interview with Radio 4’s “Today” show, according to The Telegraph. “What I am saying is there are many inks and there are therefore many drying times … Give me an hour and ten and I’ll be delivering it in your hands. It’s rarely the substrate that dictates the drying time.”
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