This death in Scotland on Queen Elizabeth II has launched a series of carefully orchestrated protocols across the UK that will last 10 days.
As the nation mourns its late sovereign, who died on September 8, here’s what to expect from her funeral and the formalities leading up to it.
What type of funeral will the Queen receive?
Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will differ from that of her late husband Prince Philip. He had a ceremonial royal funeral in 2021, reserved for the wife of the sovereign, the crown prince or members of the royal family of high military rank. The Queen Mother and Princess Diana of Wales had these types of funerals.
© Cecil Beaton — Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Queen Elizabeth II will have a state funeral, which is usually reserved for the sovereign, although dignitaries can also receive one if the reigning monarch and parliament approve. Parliament votes on how to fund such a funeral.
The last monarch to receive a state funeral was King George in 1952, while the last non-royal to receive the honor was Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.
Who organizes a state funeral?
The Earl Marshal, one of the great civil servants of the Kingdom, is responsible for organizing a state funeral as well as crowning a new sovereign.
Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, is the current Earl Marshal. The 65-year-old is the oldest peer in Britain.
King Charles III is expected to meet Earl Marshall to sign off on arrangements for his late mother’s funeral.
When and where will the Queen’s funeral be held?
The Queen’s state funeral is expected to take place in about 10 days.
Buckingham Palace will confirm the date and details, but it will be at Westminster Abbey in London. The Abbey has been the site of previous coronation ceremonies, including that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It can accommodate up to 2,000 attendees.
Who will attend the funeral?
All members of the royal family are expected to attend the funeral, including Queen Elizabeth II’s children – King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – as well as their partners and children, including Prince William and Prince Harry.
A who’s who of the British aristocracy and political elite will be among the mourners. Several foreign heads of state are also expected.
What happens in the days before the funeral?
Although the minutes are not public, guard and A politician previously released details of the plans – codenamed “Operation London Bridge” (in case the Queen dies in England) and “Operation Unicorn” (if the monarch dies in Scotland, where she spends much of her time).
In the latter, her body will be transported to Holyrood House, her residence in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. A procession will then carry her coffin to St Giles Cathedral for a memorial service.
Her coffin will then be brought to London by royal train or possibly by air. It will be taken to Buckingham Palace before being escorted to the Palace of Westminster by a carriage procession.
When he arrives at Westminster Hall, he will lie down for several days. Other royals have also lain here, including the Queen’s parents, the Queen Mother and King George VI. Viewing will reportedly be allowed for 23 hours a day, in the hope of accommodating the expected half a million members of the British public who want to pay their respects.
Confederate flags across the country will be flown at half-mast until the funeral, except on the day when King Charles III formally acceded to the throne, which is expected to take place on Saturday. On this day, the flags will be raised at full strength.
What happens on the day of the funeral?
The Queen’s coffin will be carried in a procession to Westminster Abbey for the funeral. The country will then observe a two-minute silence at noon.
Afterwards, a dedication and another procession will take place in Windsor. There she will be buried in the Royal Vault at St George’s Chapel alongside other deceased British royals, next to her late husband, Prince Philip.
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