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What is the Sovereign’s Entrance and Norman Porch?

WHEN visiting Westminster there is only one way in for the reigning monarch - and that is through the Sovereign's Entrance.

By tradition, this is the only route that the Sovereign is allowed to take when visiting the Palace.

Queen Elizabeth II walks through the traditional Sovereign's entrance and into The Norman Porch.

What is the Sovereign's Entrance and Norman Porch?

The grand Sovereign's Entrance can be found at the base of the Victoria Tower, and is used by the Queen whenever entering the Palace of Westminster.

The entrance is also used by visiting dignitaries as well as the starting point of public tours around the Palace.

Leading from the entrance is the Royal Staircase - these grey granite steps lead to the Norman Porch.

The Norman Porch is a square landing which was named for its proposed decorative scheme - based on Norman history.

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The porch was originally intended to house statues of the Norman Kings - instead there is a stained-glass window showing Edward the Confessor and depictions of Queen Victoria.

The Norman Porch leads to the Royal Gallery and the Robing Room.

What is the Victoria Tower?

The Victoria Tower is the tallest tower in the Palace of Westminister.

Named after Queen Victoria, the tower was for many years the tallest and largest stone square tower in the world - with a height of 98.5 metres (325 feet).

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The Tower was originally designed as a royal entrance and a place where records of parliament could be stored - it is now home to the Parliamentary Archives.

At the top of the tower is an iron flagstaff - usually, the Union flag is present.

However, if the Sovereign is present in the Palace the Royal Standard flag will be flown.

Due to the Tower's important role in royal ceremony, architect Charles Barry incorporated statues of the patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

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A life-size statue of Queen Victoria and two figures of Justice and Mercy can also be found.

The gateways of the Tower were purposely designed wide enough to allow the Queen's Coach to drive through during State Openings of Parliament.