Ten official days of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II end with a state funeral at Westminster Abbey and a burial at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. This is what to expect
After ten official days of mourning that have seen the Queen’s coffin travel from Balmoral to Edinburgh and then to London, she’ll finally be laid to rest in Windsor.
Before that though, there’s a full state funeral at Westminster Abbey, which will be one of the biggest ceremonial events in the UK since World War Two.
“It will be beautifully put together, bringing together all the agencies of the state and the armed forces, with the finest drill, the best pageantry, and the noblest of ceremonial in Westminster Abbey. It will be a great salute to our wonderful Queen.”Alastair Bruce, Sky News
Guests start taking their seats in the abbey from 8am and at 10.44 the Queen’s coffin leaves Westminster Hall, where it’s been lying in state.
It’ll be carried by the Royal Navy’s 123-year-old state gun carriage – which was used for the funerals of her father, grandfather and great-grandfather – and it’ll be drawn by 142 sailors.
The procession will be led by the pipes and drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments, members of the Royal Air Force and the Gurkhas, heard here at a full dress rehearsal held in the middle of the night.
King Charles III and his siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward will be walking directly behind the coffin. Behind them will be Princes William and Harry, and their cousin, Peter Phillips.
The route will be lined by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and a guard of honour will stand in Parliament Square made up of all three military services, accompanied by a Royal Marines band.
The procession is due to arrive at Westminster Abbey at 10.52am, where 2,000 guests will be waiting to pay their respects, including all the members of the royal family, as well as a whole host of foreign leaders.
Reporter: “Are you going to the Queen’s funeral, sir?”
Joe Biden: “Yes. I don’t know what the details are yet, but I will be going.”
Heads of state from across the world have been invited, including US president Joe Biden and Ukraine’s President Volodomyr Zelensky, whose wife will attend in his place.
A representative from every country the UK has diplomatic relations with has been invited.
The only exceptions are Russia, for its invasion of Ukraine; Belarus, for aiding Russia in the invasion; and Myanmar, which has had poor relations with the UK since a military coup last year.
Venezuela, Syria and Afghanistan haven’t been invited because the UK doesn’t have diplomatic relations with them.
But those are the only six. Even North Korea is expected to send someone.
“News site Politico quoting official advice to funeral guests: no autocue or make-up facilities and it’s spouses only; no other members of the principal guest’s family, staff or entourage allowed. But the big one, no state cars, no limousines, rather there will be coach transport from a central point as everyone’s bussed in instead.”7News Australia report
Many of the foreign dignitaries will gather at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea before making their way over to Westminster Abbey together. For security reasons, Joe Biden will be allowed to make the journey across London in his armoured car – and it’s thought that French president Emmanuel Macron and Japan’s Emperor Naruhito will also be allowed to use their own transport.
But the whole thing presents challenges for the UK government. One Whitehall source told the Telegraph that it’s equivalent to “hundreds of state visits” all happening at once – all for a funeral that’s expected to last for about an hour.
At about 11.55am, as the funeral comes to an end, the Last Post will be played and a two-minute silence will be observed.
The national anthem and a lament played by the Queen’s piper will bring the service to an end at about midday.
Once it’s over, there will be a final procession through London as the Queen’s coffin is drawn through the streets from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner. It’s expected to leave at 12.15pm and take around 45 minutes.
It’ll then travel in the State Hearse to Windsor, where it’ll arrive at around 3pm.
Another procession will then take place up the Long Walk, which will be lined by members of the armed forces.
The King and senior members of the royal family will meet the coffin in Windsor Castle, before it enters St George’s Chapel for a committal service at 4pm.
That will be attended by a smaller, more personal congregation of about 800 people before a private family service at around 7.25pm.
Then the Queen will finally be laid to rest alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Today’s episode was written by James Wilson and mixed by Matt Russell.