Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral: What We Know So Far

TThe death of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland has set off 10 days of meticulously planned protocols throughout the United Kingdom.

As the nation mourns its late sovereign, who died on Sept. 8, here’s what to expect from her funeral and the official proceedings leading up to it.

Which type of funeral will Queen Elizabeth receive?

Queen Elizabeth II’s obsequies will differ from those of her late husband, Prince Philip. A ceremonial royal burial was held for him in 2021. It was meant to be the consort or the sovereign’s heir, as well as members of the Royal Family of Military rank. This type of funeral was also held by the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.

© Cecil Beaton— Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Queen Elizabeth II will attend a state funeral. This is something that usually only the sovereign can have, but exceptional people may be granted one if both the monarch and the parliament approve. The funeral’s funding will be decided by Parliament.

King George, in 1952 was the last monarch to have a state funeral. Winston Churchill was the last nonroyal recipient in 1965.

Who organizes the state funeral?

The Earl Marshal, one of the Kingdom’s Great Officers of State, is in charge of arranging a state funeral, as well as the coronation of a new sovereign.

The current Earl Marshal is Edward Fitzalan–Howard (18th Duke of Norfolk). The 65-year-old is Britain’s most senior peer.

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King Charles III will meet the Earl Marshal in order to finalize the arrangements for the funeral of his mother.

When and where will the Queen’s funeral be held?

The Queen’s state funeral is expected to be held in about 10 days’ time.

Buckingham Palace will confirm the date and the details, but it will be at London’s Westminster Abbey. The abbey is the site of previous coronation ceremonies, including Queen Elizabeth II’s in 1953. You can host up to 2500 people.

Which person will take part in the funeral

All Royal Family members are expected to be at 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, among them Prince William and Prince Harry.

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A Who’s Who of the British aristocracy and political establishment will be among the mourners. A number of foreign heads are also anticipated.

What happens during the final days?

The protocols, though not publicly available, are still accessible. Guardian and Politico previously published details of the plans—codenamed “Operation London Bridge” (in the event that the Queen died in England) and “Operation Unicorn” (should the monarch pass away in Scotland, where she spent much of her time).

The latter will transport her body to Holyrood House which is her home in Edinburgh. A procession will then transport her coffin to St. Giles Cathedral in time for a funeral service.

The coffin of her deceased husband will next be transported to London either by Royal Train or air. After being taken to Buckingham Palace it will be taken to Westminster Palace by a gun carriage procession.

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The Queen Mother and King George VI will lie in state at Westminster Hall until the monarch arrives. Other royals have also lain in state here, including the Queen’s parents—the Queen Mother and King George VI. In order to accommodate the half-a million British citizens who wish to pay respects, viewings will be permitted for up 23 hours per day.

All the union flags in the country will fly at half-staff from the funeral until King Charles III officially acquiesces to the throne on Saturday. Flags will be flown at full-staff that day.

What will happen on the day?

The Queen’s coffin will be carried in a procession to Westminster Abbey for the funeral service. At midday, the country will observe silence for two minutes.

After the committal ceremony, another procession will be held at Windsor. There, she will be buried in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel with other deceased British royals, beside her late husband, Prince Philip.

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