Around 500 world leaders, including President Droupadi Murmu and US president Joe Biden, will be among the over 2,000 dignitaries that will be attending the somber ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
The funeral will start at 11 am UK time (3.30pm IST) and conclude with a two-minute silence around the country an hour later.
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch of Britain, passed away at her Scottish estate Balmoral on September 8. She was 96. This will be the first state funeral in the UK since 1965 when Winston Churchill died.
The Queen has been lying in state in London since September 15, with huge queues of mourners snaking along the River Thames with wait-time of 16 hours or more.
Here is the timeline of events that will take place on September 19:
- 11 am (IST) on Monday, the Queen’s lying-in-state will end, marking the public’s last opportunity to pay respects to the late monarchy. Preparations for the Westminster Abbey service begins.
- 12:30 pm: The doors of Westminster Abbey will be opened for the congregation to begin taking their seats.
- 3 pm: The coffin will be moved from Westminster Hall to the State Gun Carriage of the
- 3:10 pm: The gun carriage will set off and will be drawn by Royal Naval officers followed by the King, members of the Royal Family, members of the King’s household and household of the Prince of Wales.
- 3:30 pm: The State Funeral will begin, conducted by Dean of Westminster.
- 4:25 pm: The Last Post will sound, followed by a two-minutes’ silence throughout the United Kingdom ending with the National Anthem.
- 4:30 pm: The service will end and the coffin will be followed by the King, the Queen Consort, the Prince and Princess of Wales and members of the Royal Family who are to walk in the Procession to Wellington Arch
- 4:45 pm: The procession will set off for Wellington Arch with the route lined by the Armed Forces from Westminster Abbey to the top of Constitution Hill at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates. The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery will witness the departure of the Coffin to Windsor.
- 8:30 pm: The Committal Service will begin. At the conclusion, the King and the Royal Family will depart from the Galilee Porch for Windsor Castle.
- 12 midnight: A private burial service will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, attended by the King and members of the Royal Family. Her Majesty is to be buried together with her late husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, at the King George VI Memorial Chapel. The Queen had requested the performance of the Sovereign’s piper before she is buried.
A logistics challenge
Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral might become one of the most-watched events in recent history.
Over 2,000 dignitaries are expected to attend in person while hundreds of thousands will pack London’s streets to watch the funeral procession, not to mention the millions of people across the world that will watch the event live.
Nearly 6,000 military personnel have been deployed throughout the meticulously choreographed operation that began with the queen’s death on September 8.
Around 1,600 military personnel will be involved in the pomp-filled procession of the queen’s coffin from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch after her funeral. A further 1,000 will line the streets along the procession route when the coffin reaches Windsor, 410 military personnel will take part in the procession, 480 will line the streets, 150 will be in a guard of honor and line steps and 130 more will fulfil other ceremonial duties.
Additionally, over 10,000 police officers will be manning the streets. Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the “hugely complex” policing operation is the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics which saw up to 10,000 police officers on duty per day.
London authorities expect over 1 million people to visit the city on September 19. Around 250 extra rail services will run to move people in and out of the city.
The royal symbols
At Westminster Hall, Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin rests on a raised platform called a catafalque. Her closed coffin is 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 crown is adorned with 2,868 diamonds, along with 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls, and 4 rubies.
The St Edwards Crown, worn by the Queen during her coronation, will be placed on King Charles III’ head.
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.
(With inputs from agencies)