The Queen’s funeral: what we can expect over the next 10 days

The Queen’s funeral
The Queen’s funeral

D-day

The official announcement from Buckingham Palace will have been preceded by a “call cascade”, with the prime minister informed personally by the Queen’s private secretary, and the news passed through to the cabinet secretary and privy council office, which coordinates government work on behalf of the monarch. Only then will the “official notification” have been made to the public.

 

Flags across the royal residences, Whitehall and other government buildings will then have been lowered to half-mast, with the royal family’s website changed to a black holding page with a short statement announcing the Queen’s death. Government websites also change to show a black banner.

At Buckingham Palace, the tradition is to fix the framed formal announcement of the death to the railings. Meanwhile, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral will toll their bells at midday.

Ceremonial gun salutes are expected at Hyde Park and at Tower Hill, and a national minute’s silence will be held.

King Charles will conduct his first audience with the prime minister. He will also meet with the Earl Marshal to officially sign off on the full funeral plans, with the state funeral, expected to be held in 10 days’ time. Charles will give a broadcast to the country and the Commonwealth on Thursday evening.

The death gun salute will be fired at Tower Hill
The death gun salute will be fired at Tower Hill.

D-day+1

The Accession Council, which includes senior government figures and privy counsellors, will meet at St James’s Palace at 10am for the principal proclamation of the new king, which is read out in public from a balcony at St James’s Palace. A further proclamation will be read at the Royal Exchange in the City of London. In the afternoon, the new king will have audiences with the prime minister and cabinet, the leader of the opposition, the archbishop of Canterbury and the dean of Westminster.

Tributes will be paid in parliament. Flags will be at full mast for the Accession Council and remain at full mast for 24 hours, before returning to half-mast until the day after the funeral.

D-day+2

The coffin will leave from Balmoral to be taken by road to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

There will be proclamations in the devolved nations at Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast simultaneously at midday. Tributes in parliament are likely to continue.

The Welsh flag flies at half mast from Cardiff Castle
The Welsh flag flies at half mast from Cardiff Castle. Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

D-day+ 3

There will be a ceremonial procession from Holyrood along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral for a service attended by members of the royal family. After that service, St Giles’s Cathedral will open to the public for 24 hours for a period of lying at rest, not lying in state because that will take place in London.

Under London Bridge plans, King Charles is expected to travel to the Palace of Westminster to receive a motion of condolence. He is then due to fly to Edinburgh. In his first act as sovereign, he will attend the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the ceremony of the keys, followed by a service at St Giles’ Cathedral. He will have his first audience with Scotland’s first minister, and will also receive a motion of condolence at the Scottish parliament.

D-day+4

In late evening the coffin is expected to be moved to Edinburgh Waverley station from where it will travel on the royal train overnight, arriving at St Pancras station in London the next morning.

King Charles will fly to Northern Ireland, where he is due to receive a message of condolence at Hillsborough Castle and will attend St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast for a service of prayer and reflection on the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

A rehearsal will take place for the procession of the late Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.

Guardsmen parade on the Mall during a general rehearsal of the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002
Guardsmen parade on the Mall during a general rehearsal of the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002.

D-day + 5

The coffin is expected to arrive at Buckingham Palace for a few hours before the big ceremonial planned in London on that day.

In the first big ceremonial event preceding the funeral, the Queen’s coffin will be borne from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall for the beginning of five days lying in state. It is expected the coffin will be borne on a gun carriage. On arrival, there will be a short service.

The lying in state is an opportunity for the public to pay their respects. The coffin will be mounted on a catafalque in the middle of Westminster Hall, which will be open to the public for 23 hours a day.

D-day+6

The lying in state continues.

D-day+7

King Charles will travel to Wales to attend a service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, then will visit the Welsh Senedd and receive a motion of condolence. He will have an audience with the Welsh first minister.

Commonwealth detachments will begin arriving in London.

D-day+8

King Charles is expected to receive governors general and prime ministers from the realms.

D-day+9

On the eve of the funeral, Charles will welcome foreign royal families attending the funeral. VIP overseas guests are expected to attend the lying in state.

D-day+10

The state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey. The coffin will be borne from Westminster Hall in a procession to the abbey. There will be two minutes’ silence across the nation. After the one-hour service, a large ceremonial procession will accompany the coffin to Hyde Park, where it will be transferred from gun carriage to state hearse and travel to Windsor. After a procession through Windsor, a committal service will be held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, during which the coffin will be lowered into the royal vault.

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