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Late Queen’s lying-in-state begins with prayer and blessing

15 September 2022


The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II placed on the catafalque at Westminster Hall on Wednesday afternoon

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II placed on the catafalque at Westminster Hall on Wednesday afternoon

THE Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, led a short service on Wednesday afternoon as the late Queen began her lying-in-state.

A solemn procession involving around a thousand people brought the coffin to Westminster Hall from Buckingham Palace in an open gun carriage. The coffin was draped in the Royal Standard, on top of which sat the Imperial State Crown and a wreath made up of flowers and foliage from the Queen’s estates in Balmoral and Windsor. The King, his sister and brothers, the Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry followed on foot behind.

The Queen’s coffin was carried into Westminster Hall to the sound of the choirs of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, singing a setting of Psalm 139, “Lord, thou hast searched me out, and known me.” Archbishop Welby opened with prayer, before reading John 14:1-6 (“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me…).

Dr David Hoyle prayed and led those present in the Lord’s Prayer.

After “Jesu, the very thought of thee”, a motet by Edward Bairstow sung by the choir, Dr Hoyle said the Collect (“O God, the protector of all who trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.)

The service ended with a blessing by Archbishop Welby. Westminster Hall opened for the public to pay their respects later that afternoon.

Among those in attendance was the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler. “A deep honour to be amongst those receiving Her Late Majesty’s coffin into Westminster Hall this afternoon,” he wrote on Twitter afterwards. “A simple clear Christian ceremony amidst the precision of the ceremonial.”

More details of the arrangements for the funeral, to be held in Westminster Abbey at 11 a. m. on Monday, are expected to be announced later on Thursday.

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