Palace reveals details of queen’s state funeral on Monday
LONDON (AP) — Two minutes of silence will be observed Monday across the United Kingdom at the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey, giving British public across the nation a chance to pay their respects to the late monarch.
Buckingham Palace released more details Thursday about the state funeral of the queen who died Sept. 8 at 96 and her private interment later Monday. Her death at her beloved Balmoral Castle summer retreat ended the monarch’s 70-year reign.
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.”
Tens of thousands were standing in a line Thursday that snaked for more than four miles along the River Thames in London, waiting to file in silence past her coffin.
“The queen held a unique and timeless position in all our lives. This has been felt more keenly over the past few days, as the world comes to terms with her demise,” Fitzalan-Howard said.
On Friday evening, King Charles III and his siblings will stand vigil at their mother’s coffin for 15 minutes as it lies in state at the 900-year-old Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament. Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward also stood vigil with the coffin when it lay in St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh earlier this week.
After the state funeral on Monday, attended by 2,000 guests, including U.S. President Joe Biden and other visiting heads of state, Elizabeth’s coffin will be carried through the historic heart of London, from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch near Buckingham Palace on a horse-drawn gun carriage with Charles and other royals walking behind.
Also among the funeral guests will be nearly 200 people honored by the late queen for their work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and in sectors including charities, healthcare and education.
Amid pomp and pageantry, the coffin will travel along virtually the same route, including down the flag-lined Mall to the one it passed Wednesday in front of hushed throngs of mourners when it was taken from the palace to the Houses of Parliament.
London’s Heathrow Airport announced it will halt all flights for 15 minutes before the two-minute national silence on Monday, until 15 minutes after it has finished “to avoid noise disruption.”
From London, the queen’s coffin will then be driven in the state hearse to Windsor for a committal service at St. George’s Chapel near Windsor Castle, attended by 800 people, including members of the queen’s household and Windsor estate staff.
At the end of the service, 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 at 99.
Follow AP stories on the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the U.K. royal family at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii
By MIKE CORDER