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Westminster Abbey prepares for state funeral

16 September 2022

Alamy

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is carried to Wesminster Hall on Wednesday

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is carried to Wesminster Hall on Wednesday

MORE details have emerged about plans for the late Queen’s funeral, which is due to take place on Monday at 11 a.m.

A full dress rehearsal took place in the early hours of Thursday morning. Observers reported seeing a coffin draped in black, and hearing the playing of the Last Post, and a lament by the Queen’s piper.

As well as the King and the rest of the Royal Family, the congregation at the funeral is expected to include members of foreign royal families, members of the Government and the Opposition, many heads of state from around the world, and representatives of the late Queen’s patronages. Servicemen and women, including NHS workers have also reportedly been invited.

The order of service, with its choice of music and readings, is expected to reflect some of the Queen’s personal choices. Palace aides say that she was consulted on all the arrangements. The Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Scotland, are both expected to read lessons.

The service will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr David Hoyle. The Archbishop of Canterbury will preach the sermon. Music will be sung by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, directed by James O’Donnell, the Abbey’s Organist and Master of the Choristers. At the end of the service Last Post will sound, followed by a two-minute silence. Reveille, the National Anthem and a lament played by the Queen’s Piper will follow.

The Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, told the BBC that organising the event was “both humbling and daunting”. The aim, he said, was to “unite people across the globe and resonate with people of all faiths”.

The day begins with a funeral procession from Westminster Hall, where the late Queen has been lying in state since Wednesday afternoon, to the Abbey.

The coffin will be loaded on to the gun carriage for the short procession to the Abbey, pulled by naval ratings. The King and senior members of the Royal family will walk behind the coffin on its route to the Abbey.

The funeral will be in three parts: the service at Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m.; a service of committal in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, conducted by the Dean of Westminster, at 4 p.m.; and a private interment in the King George VI Memorial Chapel that evening at 7.30 p.m.

The Abbey has been closed for much for the week for preparations. Earlier this week, Dr Hoyle said that “an awful lot” of the detail of the service was under strict embargo. He spoke of the seriousness of the task ahead.

“It is both a significant privilege and a significant responsibility to be a place where mourning and thanksgiving will be focused,” he said on Monday. “It is our job now to offer to God the same disciplined integrity that her late Majesty offered us. There is a wonderful team of people at the Abbey, proud to work here and proud of our association with both the Queen and our new King. There is a lot to do, and we are busy, focused, and confident.”

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