Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral: What to expect

Codenamed “Operation London Bridge,” the arrangements for Britain’s longest-serving monarch were carefully studied by the many agencies involved, with the Queen herself signing off on every detail before her death. However, the details were kept under wraps until the sitting sovereign, King Charles III, gave everyone his final stamp of approval.

Following 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 had the opportunity to pay their last respects. respect On Sunday morning, six of his gamekeepers carried the coffin to a waiting mortuary.

At 10 am (5 am ET), the casket of the beloved monarch began its journey to the nation’s capital. However, it will not go directly there. It will first make a six-hour journey to Edinburgh and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. The road trip usually takes about three hours, however, it will be run slowly so that people can witness the corpse along the route and bow their heads as it passes.

An honor guard made up of the Royal Regiment of Scotland will greet the arriving hearse in Edinburgh with a royal salute before it is transferred to the Throne Room by a military bearer party.

Meanwhile back in London, the King will meet with the Commonwealth secretary general before hosting high commissioners from the kingdoms of which he is now head of state in the Bow Room of Buckingham Palace.

On Monday morning, the King will begin the day with a trip to Westminster Hall where both Houses of Parliament will express their condolences. He and his wife Camilla flew to Edinburgh, arriving at 12:45 pm (7:45 am ET), where they went straight to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

At 2:35 pm (9:35 am ET), the Queen’s coffin will proceed to St Giles’ Cathedral for a service of prayer and reflection attended by the King and Queen Consort and members of the royal family, as well as also a congregation drawn “from all areas of Scottish society,” according to a senior palace official. The coffin will then rest there for 24 hours to allow the Scottish public to view it, in a tradition known as lying in state.

After the service, the King will return to Holyrood where he will have an audience with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, followed by a meeting with the presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament. Charles, accompanied by the Queen Consort, will later go to the Scottish Parliament to accept a motion of condolence.

That evening, at 7:20 pm (2:20 pm ET), the King and members of the royal family will hold their own guard — or vigil — of the Queen’s casket.

On Tuesday, the King and Camilla will travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The couple will visit Hillsborough Castle and view an exhibition on the Queen’s long association with Northern Ireland. The King will then meet with the secretary of state for Northern Ireland in addition to other party leaders, and receive a message of condolence led by the speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Back in Scotland, the Queen’s only daughter Princess Anne will prepare to accompany her mother’s body on its flight back to London. At 5 pm (12 pm ET) the coffin will travel 8.2 miles (13.2 kilometers) by hearse to Edinburgh Airport, where it will depart for RAF Northolt.

The state hearse will take the monarch’s remains to Buckingham Palace, where the King, the Queen Consort, as well as other members of the Windsor clan, will await the arrival of the casket at around 8 pm (3 pm ET). The Dean of the Chapels Royal will conduct prayers and a bearer party found by The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards will place the coffin on trestles in the center of the Bow Room to rest overnight.

Wednesday will see a rare silent procession that will take the coffin in a gun carriage from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, where the Queen will lie in state until the morning of the funeral.

For this journey, the casket will be decorated with the Imperial State Crown and a flower crown. The procession route will leave at 2:22 pm (9:22 am ET) along The Mall, past Horse Guards Parade, past Downing Street towards Westminster.

In what is likely to be a poignant moment, members of the royal family will walk behind their beloved matriarch. They will be followed by senior staff from the royal household as well as close personal staff and members of the Household Division. As people watch the procession — which will last around 40 minutes — Big Ben will fire a gun by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park with an echo across the capital.

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

On its arrival at Westminster Hall, a short service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, after which the hall will be opened to the public to pay their respects.

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

Members of the public will be able to pay their respects to the Queen’s coffin during her first full day of lying in state at Westminster Hall on Thursday.

Brass plaques in the 11th-century hall mark the spot where Edward VII lay in state in 1910, George V in 1936, George VI in 1952 and Queen Mary a year later. The hall, which is 900 years old, is also where the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was laid to rest during the war in 1965.

On Friday, lying in the state will continue for the second full day. Huge numbers of people are expected to line up in central London for the chance to visit the casket and be part of this historic moment. Details on how the public can participate will be released by the government in the coming days.

Separately, King Charles and Camilla will visit Wales on Friday, ending their tour of all four countries that make up the United Kingdom.

Public access to the state bed continues through the weekend.

Sunday marked the last full day that the Queen’s body will lie in state at Westminster Hall.

On the morning of Monday, September 19 — declared a public holiday across the UK — the Queen’s state lie will end. The coffin will travel again in procession to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral, details of which are likely to come in the coming days.

Westminster Abbey, founded in 960 AD by Benedictine monks, is one of London’s most recognizable landmarks. The historic church has been the setting for every coronation since 1066, and is where the then-Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947. 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 to celebrate the Queen’s life and undoubted service to the country and the Commonwealth. While a guest list has yet to be announced, US President Joe Biden plans to attend the funeral.

Other familiar faces at the televised service were some of the 15 prime ministers who served during the Queen’s reign.

At its conclusion, the coffin will travel in procession to Wellington Arch, before making its final journey out of London to Windsor.

The George VI Memorial Chapel at St George's Chapel, Windsor, where the Queen's father and mother are buried.  Also in the vault is a casket containing the ashes of the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret.
Its destination was the now familiar St George’s Chapel within the grounds of Windsor Castle. Prince Philip’s memorial service was held there, as well as happier occasions such as the wedding of the Queen’s grandchildren.

Following the service for the Duke of Edinburgh in 2021, his coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, which is below the chapel, where many members of the royal family are laid to rest. However, he is expected to be moved to lie in state with the Queen in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, located elsewhere within St George’s Chapel.

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CNN’s Anna Brand and Henrik Pettersson contributed to this report.