Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral at London’s Westminster Abbey on Monday will be the culmination of decades of meticulous planning.
Here’s how the day will go:
– Back to the abbey –
The last time Westminster Abbey was used for a monarch’s funeral was in 1760 for King George II.
Since then, the preferred church has been St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, but Elizabeth chose a larger site.
It will be in state on the morning of the funeral – which began Wednesday at Westminster Hall in Parliament – until 6.30am (0530 GMT).
At 6.30 am the doors close in preparation for the transfer of the coffin to the nearby abbey.
– Weapon Car –
Shortly after 10:35 a.m., a bearer carrier will lift the casket from the catafalque, a raised platform, and carry it to the state gun carriage that will be waiting outside the north door of Westminster Hall.
The State Gun Car is a field gun car that has been in the possession of the Royal Navy since 1901, when it was withdrawn from active service for Queen Victoria’s funeral.
It was also used for the funerals of Kings Edward VII, George V, the Queen’s father, George VI, War Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British-ruled India.
It will be drawn by 142 junior enlisted sailors – naval ratings – in lieu of horses and will depart at 10:44am.
The Queen’s eldest son and successor, King Charles III, will escort members of the Royal Family behind the coffin to the West Gate of Westminster Abbey, arriving at 10:52 AM.
The funeral, led by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle, with the sermon by Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, begins at 11 a.m.
Towards the end of the service, at approximately 11:55 AM, the Last Post horn tone will sound, followed by a two-minute silence.
London Heathrow Airport said flights to and from the airport would be stopped 15 minutes before and after the silence.
The service concludes around noon with the national anthem and a lament, a musical expression of grief.
– Major security operation –
Westminster Abbey can accommodate up to 2,200 people.
Those in attendance at the congregation include family members, British Prime Minister Liz Truss, leading politicians, former prime ministers and more than 100 kings, queens and heads of state and other VIPs.
Invitations are expected to be sent to representatives of all countries with which Britain has diplomatic relations.
The palace has not released a formal guest list.
Russia and Belarus have not been invited because of the war in Ukraine, diplomatic sources said this week.
Military-run Myanmar and isolated North Korea were also not invited, without the presence of representatives from Syria, Venezuela or Taliban-run Afghanistan.
– Journey to Windsor –
At 12:15 pm the coffin is pulled onto the gun carriage, followed on foot by members of the royal family led by the king, to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner near Buckingham Palace, from where it is taken by royal hearse.
The hearse will arrive in Windsor at 3:06 PM and make its way to the castle via Long Walk Avenue, again with flights canceled as the castle is on the flight path to and from Heathrow.
The King and senior members of the Royal Family will follow the procession on foot from the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle around 3:40 PM, before the procession stops at the chapel at 3:53 PM.
The television service starts at 4 p.m.
Monday’s wedding is expected to be attended by at least 800 people, most of whom have not been to the abbey.
These are former and current employees who have worked for the Queen.
At the end of the service, the coffin will be lowered into the royal vault while the Queen’s bagpiper plays a lament from the doorway and the Archbishop of Canterbury pronounces the blessing.
“God Save the King” is sung and the service ends.
– Last resting place –
A private farewell service will be held at 7:30 PM.
The Queen’s final resting place is the King George VI Memorial Chapel, an annex to the main chapel, along with her husband Prince Philip.
The Queen’s mother and father – King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother – were buried there with the ashes of her younger sister Princess Margaret.