When is the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II?
Funeral arrangements are underway for Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday evening at her Balmoral residence.
Flags were at half-mast as Queen Elizabeth II passed away aged 96 this evening at Balmoral Castle in Scotland surrounded by her immediate family. Just three months ago, Britain had celebrated the monarch’s platinum jubilee to mark her 70 years on the throne. Her eldest son, who had been heir apparent since the age of three following the 1953 coronation, will be crowned King Charles III.
But before that, there will be a state funeral held at Westminster Abbey, the same Gothic church where she married her late husband Prince Philip in 1947 and acceded to the throne aged 25 in June 1953.
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The UK cabinet office has had a strategy meticulously planned and in place for decades, for such a moment - codenamed Operation London Bridge. The phrase ‘London Bridge is down’ was the code to notify parliament, Palace officials and media that the monarch had passed away. The Queen passed away at Balmoral Castle on the east coast of Scotland but her body must be transported to London for the funeral service and burial.
Within Operation London Bridge, the actual day of the Queen’s passing becomes known as D-Day, when the prime minister and cabinet members are formally informed about the death, an official announcement is released by Buckingham Palace, official statements are issued and bells are tolled every minute for two hours at Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral. During the first 24 hours of D-Day, a national minute’s silence will be observed, probably at 3 p.m. on Friday. That will be followed by a ceremonial gun salute at Hyde Park and on the banks of the River Thames at Tower Hill. Funeral plans will be signed off by King Charles III who will then address the nation and Commonwealth via a televised broadcast.
When will Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral take place?
Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral has been confirmed to take place on Monday 19 September at 10 am GMT. That is 11am BST in the UK, 5 am ET in the US and 12 noon CEST for much of Europe.
As per tradition, the funeral was always scheduled to take place around 10 days of her passing, known in the operation as D-Day, and the subsequent days following D-Day until it are given the appropriate suffix - D-Day+1, D-Day+2, D-Day+3… etc.
On D-Day+2, the coffin will be transported by road from Balmoral to Holyroodhouse, the British monarch’s official Scottish residence in Edinburgh. On D-Day+3, a private service for family members will be held a mile away at St Giles’ Cathedral. The Queen’s body will remain at St Giles, lying in rest, for the next 24 hours.
On D-Day+4, the coffin will be transported to London by train, leaving Edinburgh’s Waverley station late in the evening and arriving at St Pancras station early on Tuesday morning. The coffin will arrive at Buckingham Palace the following day, from there it will be taken to Westminster Hall where it will remain during a lying-in-state period of between three and five days during which members of the public will be able to file past the platform and pay their respects.
On or after D-Day+10, Sunday 18 September, a state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey -- now confirmed as Monday 19th --, attended by heads of state from around the world and a two-minute silence will be observed nationwide before a one-hour service. The exact date of the funeral will be confirmed by the Palace during the next few days - the event will be broadcast live on state television. The service will most likely be conducted by Anglican priest, David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster, with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury delivering a sermon.
Once the service has concluded, the Queen’s coffin will be drawn in a walking procession to Wellington Arch, at London’s Hyde Park Corner before heading to Windsor by hearse. The coffin will make its final journey to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where it will be lowered into the royal vault and laid to rest.