Britain’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, will be honoured with a full state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday. In accordance with the wish of the Queen’s successor, her son King Charles III, the public mourning period will continue across the country for a week after the funeral.
President Droupadi Murmu reached London on Saturday to attend the state funeral of the Queen, who died at the age of 96.
When is Queen Elizabeth’s funeral?
Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral will be held on September 19 (Monday) at Westminster Abbey. It will begin at about 3.30 pm (IST) and is expected to last an hour.
Earlier on Wednesday, the coffin was taken by a horse-drawn gun carriage to the Houses of Parliament also known as the Palace of Westminster, where it lay in state for four days at Westminster Hall.
Prior to this, the coffin was brought to London’s Buckingham Palace from London from Balmoral, Scotland, where she passed away at the age of 96. Following her death, processions and rituals were conducted in Balmoral, before the body was brought to London.
After the state funeral on Monday, the Queen’s funeral procession will leave for Wellington Arch, where the casket will be placed in a hearse that will head to Windsor Castle.
At St George Chapel, located inside Windsor Castle, a televised committal ceremony will take place.
Later in the evening, there will be a private family service during which the Queen will be buried with her late husband, in a small chapel — King George VI Memorial Chapel — inside the St George’s Chapel.
After the Queen’s husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away on April 9, 2021, his mortal remains were kept in the Royal Vault in St George’s Chapel. Following the Queen’s state funeral, he will be moved to lie beside Queen Elizabeth II and her parents in the memorial chapel.
Why is Queen Elizabeth’s funeral being held at Westminster Abbey?
After laying in rest at Westminster Hall for four days, the Queen’s coffin will be taken to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral.
Westminster Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and the final resting place of 17 monarchs. Since 1066, nearly every British monarch, except for Edward V and Edward VIII, has been crowned here. Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was the first to be televised for the world to see.
The Abbey has also been the site of about 16 royal weddings, including that of the Queen and the late Prince Philip in 1947, as well as Prince William and his wife, Catherine, the Prince and Princess of Wales, in 2011.
Why St George’s Chapel?
Founded by King Edward III in 1475, St George’s Chapel became the chosen burial place for the royal family in the 19th century.
The Queen will be buried in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, which was constructed in 1969. She will be laid to rest alongside her parents, George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, as well as the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret, who passed away in 2002. Prince Philip’s mortal remains will also be moved here.
According to the Week, the small side-chapel is set a little apart from the main Royal Vault. The vault was constructed between 1804 and 1810 and is located beneath the St George’s Chapel’s altar. The memorial chapel is just below the St George’s quire.
Over 20 royals are presently buried in the vault, the first of whom was Princess Amelia, the youngest daughter of King George III.
What’s special about Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin?
Made of English oak, the Queen’s coffin was crafted over three decades ago and is lined with lead, to preserve the mortal remains following its burial in a crypt, The Times reported. The lead is said to keep moisture out by making the coffin airtight — a technique also used in Prince Philip’s casket.
The royal symbols on the Queen’s coffin, and what they represent?
At Westminster Hall, her coffin rests on a raised platform called a catafalque. Her closed coffin will be adorned with several interesting objects and symbols — including her personal flag, the Royal Standard flag, as well as the Orb and Sceptre, both of which are part of the royal family’s crown jewels.
The Queen received the orb, which is also known as the Sovereign’s Orb, during her coronation. Over 300 years old, the orb in essence is a golden globe with a cross that is meant to act as a reminder to the monarch that their power is derived from God.
The Sceptre, too, was received by the Queen during her coronation. It has been handed down from monarch to monarch since Charles II in 1661. Both artefacts will eventually be handed over to King Charles III at his coronation. While she lies in state in London, the Imperial State Crown, formerly worn by Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation, will be kept atop her coffin, The Telegraph reported. The St Edward’s Crown, worn by the Queen during her coronation, will be placed on King Charles III’ head, the report further stated.
Meanwhile, the King’s wife, Camilla, the Queen Consort, will wear the Crown of Queen Elizabeth, which features the Kohinoor diamond. The diamond was given to Queen Victoria under duress during the signing of the Treaty of Lahore, which brought the first Anglo-Sikh War in 1849 to an end.
Who will attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral?
President Droupadi Murmu is on a London visit from September 17 to 19 to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and offer condolences on behalf of the Indian government.
President Droupadi Murmu visited Westminster Hall London where the body of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II is lying in state. The President offered tributes to the departed soul on her own behalf and on behalf of the people of India. pic.twitter.com/c1Qac7PhPd
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) September 18, 2022
Several other world leaders, members of royal families from across Europe, and top British politicians are expected to attend the Queen’s state funeral as well. Some of the world leaders expected to attend the funeral are US President Joe Biden, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was not included in the lengthy guest list, given the tense relationship between the UK and Russia, particularly after the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.
What else will happen in the UK on Monday?
As public mourning continues across the country, several retailers have announced that they will be shutting shop so their employees can pay their respects to the late monarch. According to The Guardian, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi and Primark have announced that they will be closed for the day.