London — Buckingham Palace shared more details on Thursday about the plans for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, which will start at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. Eastern) on Monday, September 19. The service will take place at Westminster Abbey, in the heart of London.
The ancient abbey has been the setting for royal coronations for hundreds of years, including the queen’s own in 1953, and is also where she married Prince Philip in 1947. The funeral for Queen Elizabeth II’s mother was held there in 2002, but there hasn’t been a funeral for a monarch there since the 18th century.
Plans for the funeral, which the queen herself consulted on, have been in place for years.
On Monday morning, the queen’s coffin, which is currently lying in state at Westminster Hall so members of the public can pay their respects to the late monarch, will be processed on a gun carriage the short distance to Westminster Abbey, where a sermon will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury. King Charles III will walk behind the coffin to Westminster Abbey, along with other members of the royal family.
At the conclusion of the service, two minutes of silence will be held across the U.K.
Following the service, at around 12 p.m. local ( 7 a.m. Eastern) the queen’s coffin will be taken in a walking procession to Hyde Park, and then by hearse to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the sprawling estate west of London where the late monarch spent a lot of her life, and much of her last few years isolating amid the coronavirus pandemic.
St. George’s Chapel is the final resting place of the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, and her late husband, Prince Philip. It is the chapel often chosen by the royal family for events like weddings and funerals. It is where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, got married, and where Philip’s funeral was held.
Once her coffin arrives, at approximately 4 p.m. local (11 a.m. Eastern) a televised committal service will take place. The cameras will then be switched off for a private service to be held later in the evening for members of the royal family, at around 7:30 p.m. local (2:30 p.m. Eastern).
Who will attend?
The queen’s funeral is expected to be one of the largest gatherings of royalty and politicians in the U.K. in decades. While the palace would not confirm attendance numbers, Westminster Abbey can hold over 2,000 people.
World leaders were reportedly asked to travel to London on commercial flights if possible, and to make their way to Westminster on the day of the funeral on special buses arranged specifically for the occasion.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden have confirmed they will attend the queen’s funeral, along with leaders from across the British commonwealth, including the prime ministers of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Bangladesh, and the presidents of India and Sri Lanka. French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are among the other political leaders expected to attend.
Non-British royalty are also expected be there, including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, the king and queen of Belgium, the king and queen of the Netherlands and the king and queen of Spain.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was invited and China’s foreign ministry has said it is considering sending a high level delegation. BBC News quoted British government sources as saying Iran would be represented at the ambassadorial level.
Who’s not invited?
Amid President Putin’s ongoing war in Ukraine, no one from Russia or its close ally Belarus has been invited to attend the queen’s funeral, nor have any officials from Myanmar, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, Syria, or Venezuela, according to the BBC.
Nicaragua and North Korea have been invited to send ambassadors, but not heads of state, the BBC reported.
What else is happening before the funeral?
The palace announced that King Charles III, who was spending Thursday catching up on state business, will mount a vigil at the queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. local (2:30 p.m. Eastern), alongside his siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. The vigil will last for 15 minutes.
Earlier on Friday, the king and Camilla, Queen Consort, will travel to Cardiff in Wales, where they will receive condolences from the Welsh Senedd and attend a service of remembrance at Llandaff Cathedral.
On Saturday, King Charles III will carry out state business at Buckingham Palace and then travel to police headquarters to thank the emergency services involved in planning and delivering the events during the period leading up to the funeral of the queen.
On Sunday, the king and the queen consort will host an official state event for visiting heads of state and other official overseas guests at Buckingham Palace.