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The use of a special purse or burse to hold the Great Seal of the Realm, the Lord Chancellor's symbol of Office, can be traced as far back as the end of the 13th Century. The purse is solemnly carried before the Lord Chancellor in procession on State occasions.
It no longer contains the Great Seal which now reposes at the Palace of Westminster; it is however used by the Lord Chancellor to convey the signed copy of the Queen's Speech printed on vellum, from the Queen's Robing Room to the steps of the Throne in the Chamber of the House of Lords, at every State Opening of Parliament.
The Purse presently in use is made from crimson velvet and lavishly embellished with the Royal Arms and Emblems.
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