Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II‘s state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11am on Monday, September 19.
It will be the first funeral service at the Abbey – which was the background to much of the Queen’s astonishing life, from her marriage to her beloved Duke of Edinburgh to the Coronation – for a British monarch since that of King George II in 1760.
The funerals of kings and queens have been at St George’s Chapel in Windsor since the reign of George III.
However, in a break with convention, Her Majesty – who died at Balmoral on Thursday aged 96 following many months of concern over her health – decided her funeral should be in the much bigger setting of Westminster Abbey.
Scotland Yard has now been tasked with organising the most significant security arrangement in British history for the funeral.
After a night at the Palace of Holyroodhouse tonight, the Queen will lie in state for 24 hours at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. Her coffin will be flown to London on Tuesday, acccompanied by the Princess Royal, before being driven to Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s lying in state is expected to begin in Westminster Hall in London on Wednesday afternoon.
Then on Monday, the coffin will be moved from the Houses of Parliament that morning on the state gun carriage and transported to the neighbouring Abbey. King Charles III and other senior members of the Royal Family, as well as the military, will follow the coffin while hundreds of thousands of mourners line the streets to pay their final respects to the late monarch.
Around 2,000 guests including Prime Minister Liz Truss and US President Joe Biden will then attend the hour-long televised service in the Abbey, which is expected to be one of the most watched live events in history – before the coffin is solemnly carried to Wellington Arch at 1pm via Whitehall, The Mall and past Buckingham Palace.
The coffin will then be carried to Windsor, before the Queen is buried at St George’s Chapel next to her husband Prince Philip.
Her Majesty stands on the Buckingham Palace balcony on the final day of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in early June
6am-8.30am: Last vigil at Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall
At dawn on the last day of national mourning, the King’s bodyguards will begin their final vigil at the Queen’s oak coffin in the Houses of Parliament. It will then close at 8.30am in preparation for the procession.
9am: Big Ben will strike
Big Ben will strike clearly, before the bell’s hammer is covered with a thick leather pad to muffle its strikes for the rest of the day, out of respect and deference to the late monarch.
10.30am: Queen’s coffin is carried from House of Parliament to Westminster Abbey
The Queen’s coffin will be moved onto the state gun carriage which will be outside the north door of Westminster Hall.
From there, it will be pulled by naval ratings using ropes instead of horses from the Hall to Westminster Abbey.
Enormous crowds of mourners are expected to line the streets in Westminster as King Charles and senior members of the Royal Family follow the coffin as they did at the funeral for Princess Diana and for Prince Philip. The military will also join the procession.
11am: The Queen’s coffin is carried to the High Altar
Around 2,000 guests including members of the Royal Family, Prime Minister Liz Truss, former British premiers, foreign dignitaries including US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and possibly Japanese Emperor Naruhito, and other VIPs, will fill the Abbey and watch as the Queen’s coffin is moved down the nave to the High Altar, before the nation falls silent.
The state funeral at Westminster Abbey (pictured) be led by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury
11am-12pm: The state funeral at the Abbey
The state funeral will be led by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
It is being televised and is expected to be beamed to millions around the world – and could well be one of the most watched live events in human history.
Royal experts believe that the choice of the Abbey could be both because it is so big – it has a capacity of 2,000 though can hold as many as 8,000 – and more live TV broadcasts have already been held there.
It is also believed that it could be a better place for large crowds to gather to pay their respects, since it is in Central London.
And the Abbey was the setting for many of the most important events of the Queen’s life – from her Coronation to her wedding to Prince Philip. The Princess Royal and the Duke of York, and the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, were also married there.
Other royal funerals have been held at the Abbey, including Princess Diana’s in 1997 and the Queen Mother’s in 2002. The funeral of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Philip’s uncle, was also held there in 1979.
Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey
The Queen is photographed on June 2, 1953 smiling after her Coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London
12pm: The Last Post
At the end of the service, the Last Post and Reveille will be played.
12pm-1pm: Queen’s coffin is carried to Wellington Arch via The Mall
The Queen’s coffin will then be placed back on the state gun carriage, before the royal funeral procession will solemnly move through Parliament Square, Whitehall, Constitution Hill and The Mall, past Buckingham Palace, to arrive at Wellington Arch at 1pm.
1pm-4pm: The coffin is transported to Windsor
Then the coffin will be transported to Windsor, where the Queen spent much of the last years of her life, to her final resting place at St George’s Chapel via the Long Walk.
The Queen’s coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault at St George’s Chapel in Windsor (pictured), where she will be buried alongside her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her beloved parents, and her sister Princess Margaret
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in an official wedding photograph taken on their wedding day in 1947
4pm: Queen will be buried at St George’s Chapel by her husband Prince Philip
The committal service conducted by the Dean of Windsor will then begin, and will also be televised around the world.
Before the last hymn, the Imperial State Crown, sceptre and orb will be removed from the Queen’s coffin by the crown jeweller.
Then at the end of the service, a lament will be played by a lone piper as the coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, where she will be buried alongside her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her beloved parents, and her sister Margaret.
7pm: King Charles will attend private family burial service at chapel
King Charles and his closest family will return to the chapel for a private family burial service, where – as the late Queen did for her father – the monarch will scatter earth upon the coffin.
The significance of Westminster Abbey in the Queen’s life: Married and crowned there, Her Majesty’s state funeral will be the first at the church for the first time since George II’s 260 years ago
The Queen was married and crowned at Westminster Abbey.
Now the bells of the ‘House of Kings’ – half muffled in mourning – will ring out at her funeral.
It will be the first time in over 260 years a sovereign’s funeral has taken place in the Abbey. The last was George II’s in 1760.
For the Queen, the Abbey was where her most defining milestones took place, both in terms of her personal happiness and her public duty.
Princess Elizabeth was 21 when, on Thursday November 20 1947, she married her prince in the surrounds of the central London church. It was a morale booster in tough post-war years and millions of people listened on the radio.
More than 2,000 guests gathered inside, waiting for the royal bride, whose Norman Hartnell wedding dress was hand-embroidered with more than 10,000 pearls and crystals.
Just five years after she married, the princess became Queen Elizabeth II on the death of her father, George VI.
Some 16 months later, on June 2 1953, she was crowned at the Abbey – the scene of coronations for some 900 years. During the service, the Queen took the oath and was anointed, with the St Edward’s Crown placed on her head. An estimated 27 million people in Britain watched the ceremony on TV after the Queen agreed it could be televised.
The Abbey was also the site of romantic royal celebrations for the Queen.
She saw her daughter, Princess Anne, marry Captain Mark Phillips in the church in 1973, and her second son, the Duke of York, wed Sarah Ferguson in 1986.
In 2011, her grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, now the Prince of Wales, exchanged vows with Kate Middleton as millions watched across the globe.
Many times, the Queen went to the Abbey with her family to attend thanksgivings or commemorative events such as a service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme in 2016.
The church was also a reminder of the loss of her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and former daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. The Queen Mother’s funeral was held at the Abbey in 2002, five years after Diana’s.
The Gothic church – whose official title is the Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster – has been the coronation church since 1066. The Queen’s was the 38th.
It is also the final resting place of 17 monarchs, including Charles II and Elizabeth I.
Steeped in over 1,000 years of history, Benedictine monks first went to the site in the middle of the 10th century. The present church, started by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of Anglo-Saxon saint Edward the Confessor still at its heart.
Elizabeth II maintained a close connection with the Abbey, which is a Royal Peculiar and subject only to the sovereign and not any archbishop or bishop.