Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral: what to expect


London (CNN)– The death of Queen Elizabeth II has set in motion a complicated period of mourning, which will culminate in a grand state funeral on September 19 to honor her lifetime of steadfast devotion and service.

Dubbed “Operation London Bridge”, the British royal arrangements have been carefully scrutinized for years by the many agencies involved, with the queen herself signing off on all the details before her death. However, these details were kept under wraps until the sitting sovereign, Charles III, gave it the definitive stamp of approval.

In the end, the Queen will die at St George’s Chapel, in the grounds of Windsor Castle, with her 73-year-old “strength and stay” Prince Philip. Here, we’ve put together a day-by-day guide to what’s happening between now and the state funeral.

After the Queen’s death, her oak coffin – draped with the Royal Standard for Scotland and a wreath of flowers – sat in the ballroom at Balmoral, where estate staff were able to pay their last respects.

On Sunday morning, game wardens led her to a waiting carriage, and then the beloved monarch left Balmoral for the last time. On the first leg of the Queen’s final trip, the royal court made a six-hour journey to Edinburgh and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. The journey by road usually takes about three hours, however, it was done slowly so that people could watch the procession and bow their heads.

A guard of honor from the Royal Regiment of Scotland greeted the Edinburgh hearse with a royal salute before the coffin was carried into the Throne Room by a military pallbearer.

Meanwhile, in London, the monarch met with the Commonwealth’s chief secretary, before welcoming the high commissioners of the kingdoms who are now heads of state, in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace.

On Monday morning, the King began the day with a trip to Westminster Hall, where both Houses of Parliament expressed their condolences. He and his wife Camilla then moved to Edinburgh, where they went directly to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

In the evening, the king led a procession carrying the queen’s coffin to St Giles’ Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving attended by members of the royal family, as well as what he said was a congregation drawn from “all walks of Scottish society”. the high official of the palace. The coffin was then laid to rest for 24 hours to be viewed by the Scottish public.

After the service, the King had an audience with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, and a meeting with the Speaker of the Scottish Parliament. Charles, along with the Queen Consort, also went to the Scottish Parliament to receive a condolence motion.

In the evening, the king and members of the royal family set a guard – or vigil – for the queen’s coffin.

On Tuesday, the King and Camilla visited Belfast, Northern Ireland, as part of her first tour as monarch of the nations that make up the United Kingdom. The couple visited Hillsborough Castle and saw an exhibition about the Queen’s long relationship with Northern Ireland. The King then met with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in addition to other party leaders, and received a message of condolence led by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Back in Scotland, the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, accompanied her mother’s body back to London. The coffin traveled 8.2 miles (13.2 kilometers) by coach to Edinburgh Airport, from where it departed for RAF Northolt.

A state hearse carried the monarch’s remains to Buckingham Palace, where the king, the queen consort and other members of the Windsor clan awaited the coffin’s arrival at around 8:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. ET). The Dean of the Chapels Royal offered prayers and a pallbearer party formed by the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards placed the coffin in the center of the Bow Hall to rest for the night.

On Wednesday there was a huge procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, where the Queen will lie in state until dawn.

For this journey, the coffin was decorated with the Crown of the Imperial State and a wreath of flowers. The procession left at 14:22 (9:22 AM ET) down The Mall, along Horse Guards Parade, from Downing Street to Westminster.

Major royals including Charles III and Princes William and Harry followed their beloved matriarch. Then there were the senior staff and close personal staff of the royal households and members of the Household Division. As the crowd watched the procession – which lasted around 40 minutes – Big Ben rang out and small cannons fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park echoed across the capital.

The Queen’s coffin was placed on a raised platform – or catafalque – in the middle of the hall, and is guarded around the clock by officers from the Household Division, the King’s Bodyguard or the Royal Company of Archers.

Arriving at Westminster Hall, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, led a short service, after which the hall was opened to the public.

The funeral procession of the Queen's father, King George VI, at Marble Arch, London, 16 February 1952.

Members of the public will be able to walk past the Queen’s coffin on Thursday for the first full day it lies in state in Westminster Hall.

The hall will be open 24 hours a day until 6.30am (until 1.30am) on the day of the Queen’s funeral. The UK Government has warned that those who want to say goodbye “will have to stand in line for many hours, possibly overnight”. All layovers will go through “airport-style” security, with only small bags allowed.

Brass plaques in the 11th-century hall show where Edward VII stayed in 1910, George V in 1936, George VI in 1952 and Queen Mary a year later. The hall, which is 900 years old, was also visited by wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.

On Friday, the state of recumbency will continue for a second full day. Crowds are expected to line up across central London to visit the coffin and be part of this historic moment.

Separately, King Charles and Camilla will visit Wales on Friday to conclude their tour of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom.

Public access to the recumbent state continues over the weekend.

Sunday is the last full day the Queen’s body will be in Westminster Hall.

Citizens of the UK have also been invited to observe a minute’s silence at 8pm (3pm ET) as a national moment of reflection.

On Monday 19 September, which has been designated as a public holiday in the UK, the Queen’s state of repose will end. The coffin will then go in procession back to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral, details of which are likely to come in the coming days.

Westminster Abbey, founded by Benedictine monks in AD 960, is one of London’s most recognizable landmarks. The historic church has been the scene of all coronations since 1066, and in 1947 Princess Isabel married Prince Felipe there. But there hasn’t been a monarch’s funeral there since George II in 1760.

Heads of state and dignitaries from around the world are expected to be invited to the British capital to join members of the royal family in celebrating the Queen’s life and her continued service to the nation and the Commonwealth. Although the guest list has not yet been announced, US President Joe Biden plans to attend the funeral.

Other familiar faces on the televised service will include some of the 15 Prime Ministers who served during the Queen’s reign.

On completion, the coffin will proceed in procession to Wellington Arch before making its final journey from London to Windsor.

The George VI Memorial Chapel at St George's Chapel in Windsor, where the Queen's father and mother were buried.  A casket containing the ashes of the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, is also in the vault.

Its destination is the now famous St. George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Prince Philip’s memorial service was held there, as well as more joyous events such as the wedding of the Queen’s grandchildren.

After the Duke of Edinburgh’s service in 2021, his coffin was placed in the King’s Chamber, located under the chapel where many members of the royal family were killed. However, it is expected to be moved with the Queen to the King George VI Memorial Chapel, another location within St George’s Chapel.

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