Historically, when monarchs exercised personal influence and overall decision-making in government, a speech from the throne would outline the policies and objectives of the monarch; as such the speech was usually prepared by the monarch's advisers, but the monarch supervised the drafting of the speech at least to some extent and exercised final discretion as to its content. In constitutional monarchies today, whether by law or by convention, the head of state (or representative thereof) reads the speech from the throne, but it is prepared by the ministers in cabinet.
The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Norway are the only contemporary European monarchies in which the practice of the country's monarch giving a "throne speech" is still observed. In other nations, the monarch may attend or still officially open the country's legislature and may also give a speech but these speeches differ from the traditional throne speech in that they do not outline any government agenda. Many republics have adopted a similar practice in which the head of state, often a president, addresses the legislature; for example, in the United States, the president makes an annual State of the Union address and in the Philippines, the president also makes an annual State of the Nation Address.
Of contemporary European monarchies today: the United Kingdom, the Netherlands (Prince's Day), and Norway, still practice the traditional "throne speech" given by the monarch, outlining the government's agenda, with similar ceremonial. In other countries the monarch may or may not attend the opening of the country's legislature and may also give a speech though these speeches would differ from the traditional throne speech in that they do not outline any government agenda.
In the United Kingdom, the speech is known as Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech, the Gracious Address, or, less formally, the Queen's Speech (or King's Speech, when the reigning monarch is male). In Canada, it is often shortened to Throne Speech (in French: Discours du Trône). Since 1973, the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec has delivered a short inaugural address termed the Allocution, after which the premier reads his or her Discours d'ouverture (Opening Speech), called the Message inaugural from 1974 to 1984. In Australia, this speech is called the Governor's speech or opening speech.
In Hong Kong, the governor's address was termed the Policy Address during Chris Patten's governorship. In the Irish Free State, the governor-general delivered the Governor-General's Address to Dáil Éireann; only two were ever given, in 1922 and 1923.