At least ten days of the solemn ceremony have been mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, who ruled the United Kingdom for more than 70 years. Gun salutes, bells pealing over the land, and millions gathering for tribute are moments few alive anywhere else will have witnessed. In an otherwise uncertain few weeks for the nation, the queen’s funeral has been stage-managed by the plan codenamed London Bridge, which has been developing for years. According to advance briefings from Buckingham Palace officials, the queen’s funeral will take place along with the coronation of her eldest son, Charles, 73, following the succession to a new king.
In mourning the queen, Britain is officially in mourning. Charles was appointed head of state of Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada upon Elizabeth’s death in Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The new king has a busy week ahead, speaking with Prime Minister Liz Truss, releasing a written statement, and delivering a TV address to the nation. London will be ringing from noon for one hour as Westminster Abbey’s tenor bell and St. Paul’s Cathedral’s Great Tom peal. Every 10 seconds, gun salutes will be fired at Edinburgh Castle and Hyde Park in London, marking Elizabeth’s life.
A minute will be rung at Windsor Castle every year for the rest of her life, thanks to the Sebastopol bell captured from Russian forces. Flags fly at half-staff on official buildings but are dressed in black crepe and tassels on Parliament Square and the Mall. The new king is not expected to attend.
Scotland’s capital Edinburgh will receive the queen’s body at Holyrood. The new king will deliver an oath and speech to members of the Privy Council, which advises the monarch. Ascension Council meetings are televised for the first time. A member of the Church of England, led by the new king, will also attend.
Hyde Park’s King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will fire a 41-gun salute, while the Honourable Artillery Company will fire a 62-gun salute at the Tower. A ceremonial tune will sound among the many pageantry flourishes, and a Garter King of Arms, an ancient title held by the monarchy since 1484, will proclaim Charles as king. In the next verse, the royal band will perform “God Save the King,” the new title for the national anthem. Now all public buildings can raise their flags.
St. Giles Cathedral will host a service with members of the royal family. There will be a 21-gun salute when Charles meets Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Holyrood. Several cities and towns across the U.K. will celebrate, with fanfare at Cardiff Castle in Wales, Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross, and Belfast’s Hillsborough Castle.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is scheduled to depart St. Giles Cathedral by car before being transferred onto a slow overnight train to London. At Westminster Hall, between the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, the new king and his wife, Camilla, will hear condolence messages.
Cars will transfer the coffin to Buckingham Palace once it arrives in London. Hillsborough Castle and St. Anne’s Cathedral will be on the king’s itinerary in Belfast during his whistlestop tour. A small green space near the Houses of Parliament and alongside the river Thames will be a waiting area for thousands, if not millions, of people lining up to pay their respects to Elizabeth when her body arrives at Westminster Hall. This is such an important move that a full rehearsal will now be performed.
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The gun carriage procession will bring Elizabeth’s body to Westminster Palace in a symbolic, poignant way. On a velvet cushion will be placed the Imperial State Crown on the coffin draped in the royal standard, followed by the new king. Among the royal family members who will follow are Princes William and Harry. A gun salute in Hyde Park will accompany the chimes of Big Ben within the Elizabeth Tower of the Houses of Parliament at one-minute intervals. It is now the responsibility of the Yeoman of the Guard and other military members to stand in constant vigil over Elizabeth’s coffin for the next five days following her funeral at Westminster Hall. An operation of 24 hours interrupted only by 15-minute cleaning breaks at night prepares hundreds of thousands of people to pay their respects.
The new king meets the royal family at Buckingham Palace on this day, as world leaders pay their respects at Westminster Hall.
During his first official weekly audience, the new king meets with the prime minister at noon to hear about the parliamentary business. This constitutional custom has been portrayed in “The Crown” and other TV and film productions.
In honour of Elizabeth’s death, British establishment figures, heads of state, and family members will gather at Westminster Abbey 10 days after her demise. All former British prime ministers surviving will attend Westminster Abbey in the morning. At 6.30 a.m. (1 a.m. ET), the final well-wishers will be admitted to Westminster Hall to pay their respects before the coffin is taken to its final destination. As the pallbearers pass the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at 11 a.m. (6 a.m. ET), Big Ben will strike once to mark two minutes of national silence. After the hour-long funeral service has concluded, a procession of as many as 1.5 miles carrying the coffin will pass Buckingham Palace to Wellington Arch before reaching Windsor Castle, where Elizabeth will rest.
The U.K. observes two minutes of silence after a state funeral at Westminster Abbey. A final memorial service will be held at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel, followed by the queen’s burial next to her late husband, Prince Philip, in April 2021.