16 Sep 2022

Queen Elizabeth II funeral plans: What we know so far

6:46 pm on 16 September 2022
Crowds gather to view the Queen to be laid in state

The state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will follow strict rules of protocol. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

Preparations are being made for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II when the world will say a final farewell to Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

It will be a day of emotion, pomp and ceremony with a service at Westminster Abbey, cortege and military procession across London before a final family ceremony at a chapel in Windsor Castle. The Queen made personal additions to the plans, Buckingham Palace has said.

Here's what we know so far about what will happen on Monday 19 September and how you can follow events.

What time is the Queen's funeral?

The Queen's funeral, expected to be attended by 2000 guests, will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11:00 BST (10pm NZST) on Monday.

The Union Jack flag flies half mast at Westminster Abbey in London on 15 September, 2022, following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September. Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state until 0530 GMT on 19 September 19, a few hours before her funeral, with huge queues expected to file past her coffin to pay their respects.

The Union Jack flag flies half mast at Westminster Abbey in London, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

It will be a state funeral - an event that is typically held for kings or queens and follows strict rules of protocol, such as a military procession and a period of lying in state - currently under way at Westminster Hall.

The abbey, hosting the funeral service, is the historic church where Britain's kings and queens are crowned. The Queen's own coronation was held there in 1953. Not far from where the Queen's coffin is now resting, the abbey is also the place where she married Prince Philip in 1947.

There hasn't been a monarch's funeral service in the abbey since the 18th Century, although the funeral of the Queen Mother was held there in 2002.

Pallbearers from The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II past Camilla, Queen Consort, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, as they arrive at Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster in London on 14 September, 2022, where the coffin will to Lie in State.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II into Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster in London. Photo: Oli Scarff / various sources / AFP

The day's key timings

All times are in NZST and span the period from 5.30pm on 19 September to 6.30am on 20 September.

  • 5.30pm Lying in state closes to the public
  • 7pm Doors open at Westminster Abbey
  • 9.44pm Coffin leaves Westminster Hall
  • 9.52pm Coffin arrives at Westminster Abbey
  • 10pm Funeral service begins
  • 10.55pm National two-minutes silence
  • 11pm Funeral service ends
  • 11.15pm Procession leaves for Wellington Arch
  • 12am Coffin transfers to hearse at Wellington Arch
  • 2.06am Hearse arrives at Windsor Castle
  • 2.10am Procession along the Long Walk
  • 3am Committal service at St George's Chapel
  • 6.30am Queen buried at private service at the chapel

RNZ will be broadcasting the BBC's coverage of the funeral and the aftermath from 9.45pm, with live updates online at rnz.co.nz.

What will happen before the service?

The ceremonial part of the day will begin just before 10:45 BST (9.45pm) as the Queen's coffin is carried from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy.

Members of the public pay their respects as they pass the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it lies in state inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on 15 September, 2022.

Members of the public pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state in Westminster Hall. Photo: Odd ANDERSEN / POOL / AFP

Senior members of the Royal Family, including the new King and his sons Prince William and Prince Harry, will follow in procession.

It will be led by the pipes and drums of the Scottish and Irish regiments, members of the Royal Air Force and the Gurkhas.

The route will be lined by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and a guard of honour will stand in Parliament Square made up of all three military services, accompanied by a Royal Marines band.

Who will attend the funeral?

Heads of state from across the world will be flying in to join members of the Royal Family in remembering the life and service of the Queen. Senior UK politicians and former prime ministers will also be there.

US President Joe Biden and the prime ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand have confirmed their attendance, and Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are also said to have accepted invitations.

Members of royal families from across Europe, many of whom were blood relatives of the Queen, are expected - Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde and Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia are among those who have confirmed they will be there.

People queuing for the Queen ceremony

Thousands have joined a queue that stretches for miles as they wait to file past Queen Elizabeth II's coffin, which is lying in state at London's Westminster Hall. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

The service will probably be conducted by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle, with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby giving the sermon. Prime Minister Liz Truss will read a lesson.

Towards the end of the funeral, about 11:55 BST (10.55pm), the Last Post - a short bugle call - will be played followed by a two-minute national silence.

The national anthem and a lament played by the Queen's piper will bring the service to an end about midday.

What is the funeral procession route?

Image of Big Ben and River

Big Ben will toll at one-minute intervals as the procession moves through London's streets following Queen Elizabeth II's funeral. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

Following the funeral service, about 12:15 BST (11.15pm), the Queen's coffin will be drawn in a walking procession from the abbey to Wellington Arch, at London's Hyde Park Corner.

With the route lined with military personnel and police, Big Ben will toll at one-minute intervals as the procession moves slowly through the streets of the capital. Gun salutes will also fire every minute from Hyde Park.

The procession, led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, will be made up of seven groups, each with its own band. Members of the armed services from the UK and the Commonwealth, the police and the NHS will also be involved.

Camilla, the Queen Consort, the Princess of Wales, the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Sussex will join the procession in cars.

Once at Wellington Arch, about 13:00 BST (midnight), the coffin will be transferred to the new State Hearse for its final journey to Windsor Castle.

Members of the public place flowers outside Windsor Castle on 15 September, 2022, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September.

Members of the public place flowers outside Windsor Castle. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

The castle, continuously inhabited by 40 monarchs across almost 1,000 years, had special significance to the Queen throughout her life. As a teenager she was sent to the castle during the war years as London faced the threat of bombing, and more recently she made it her permanent home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just after 15:00 BST (2am), the hearse is expected to arrive in Windsor ready for a walking procession at 15:10 BST up the Long Walk, which will be lined with members of the armed forces.

The King and senior members of the Royal Family are expected to join the cortege in the Quadrangle in Windsor Castle about 15:40 BST (2,40am) before the coffin enters St George's Chapel for a committal service at 16:00 BST (3am).

The castle's Sebastopol and Curfew Tower bells will be tolled every minute and gun salutes will be fired from the castle's grounds.

The committal service - attended by a smaller, more personal congregation of about 800 guests - will be conducted by Dean of Windsor David Conner, with a blessing from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

A general view of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, west of London, on 11 February, 2018.

The committal service for Queen Elizabeth II will take place at St George's Chapel in Windsor. Photo: Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP

Towards the end of the service, the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and sceptre will be removed from the top of the coffin before the Queen is lowered into the royal vault.

The Sovereign's piper will play before a blessing and the singing of God Save the King. The performance by the piper at Windsor was something the Queen had personally requested, Buckingham Palace said.

Where will the Queen be buried?

St George's Chapel is the church regularly chosen by the Royal Family for weddings, christenings and funerals. It is where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan, got married and where the Queen's late husband Prince Philip's funeral was held.

At 19:25 BST (6.25am), at a private family service, the Queen will be buried together with her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the King George VI memorial chapel, located inside St George's Chapel.

Her marble slab will be engraved ELIZABETH II 1926-2022.


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