Two minutes of silence will be observed Monday across the United Kingdom at the end of Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey, giving the British public a chance to pay their respects to the late monarch.
Buckingham Palace released details Thursday of the state funeral to take place for Elizabeth on Monday ahead of her private interment. The state funeral will take place at 6 a.m. ET.
Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, the official in charge of arrangements, said the funeral and events over coming days are intended to “unite people across the globe and resonate with people of all faiths, whilst fulfilling her majesty and her family’s wishes to pay a fitting tribute to an extraordinary reign.”
The late Queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch near Buckingham Palace on a horse-drawn gun carriage, with King Charles and other Royal Family members walking behind.
The coffin will then be driven in the state hearse to Windsor for a committal service at St. George’s Chapel near Windsor Castle, where the coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault and the sovereign’s piper will play a lament, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will pronounce the blessing and the congregation will sing God Save the King.
Members of the Royal Family will then hold a private burial service at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, where the Queen will be interred with her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.
The state funeral is to be attended by some 2,000 guests, including visiting heads of state and other dignitaries, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon.
Elizabeth’s death at her beloved Balmoral Castle summer retreat on Sept. 8 ended the monarch’s 70-year reign.
Massive lines form
The 900-year-old Westminster Hall is now the focus of events, as the Queen lies in state until Monday. Thousands have already paid their respects, filing past the casket draped with the royal standard and topped with a diamond-encrusted crown.
Thousands more lined up through the night to file past her coffin at the hall. People old and young, dressed in dark suits or jeans and sneakers, walked in a steady stream to the historic hall, where Guy Fawkes and Charles I were tried, where kings and queens hosted magnificent medieval banquets, and where previous monarchs have lain in state.
Keith Smart, an engineer and British Army veteran, wiped away tears as he left the hall. He had waited more than 10 hours for the chance to say his goodbye.
“Everybody in the crowd was impeccably behaved. There was no malice, everybody was friends. It was fantastic,” he said. “And then, to come into that room and see that, I just broke down inside. I didn’t bow — I knelt to the floor, on my knees, bowed my head to the Queen.”
The queue to see the Queen lying in state stretched for nearly six kilometres past Tower Bridge. The line snaked along the south bank of the River Thames and then over a bridge to Parliament. Thousands in the line didn’t mind the hours of waiting.
“I’m glad there was a queue because that gave us time to see what was ahead of us, prepared us and absorbed the whole atmosphere,” said health-care professional Nimisha Maroo. “I wouldn’t have liked it if I’d had to just rush through.”
King Charles was said to be spending time at his Highgrove residence in western England and not expected to be in public on Thursday. Charles has had calls with U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron and is speaking to a host of world leaders.
Heir to the throne Prince William and his wife, Kate, Princess of Wales, will visit the Royal Family’s Sandringham estate in eastern England to see some of the tributes left by well-wishers.
On Friday evening, King Charles and his siblings will stand vigil at their mother’s coffin for 15 minutes as it lies in state at Westminster Hall.