Guests at the Queen’s funeral begin to take their seats in Westminster Abbey

The essential

  • Public access to Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin ended at 7:30 this morning.
  • That dignitaries came, including Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Olena Zelenska, the Ukrainian first lady. Some were received by King Charles last night.
  • The country followed a minute’s silence in honor of the Queen last night.
  • At 11.35 a.m. (Swiss time) the Queen’s coffin will leave the palace taken to Westminster Abbey through a funeral procession.
  • That Funeral Mass takes place from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. before his coffin begins a procession in London until 14 O ‘clock
  • He will then take the road to windsor, for a new procession at 4:00 p.m. leading to the St. George’s Chapelwhere the funeral service will take place at 5 p.m.
  • The Queen’s funeral will be at 8:30 p.m. in King George VI’s chapel during a private ceremony reserved for members of the royal family only.

■ Guests at the Queen’s funeral begin to take their seats in Westminster Abbey

Three hours before Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral began, the doors of Westminister Abbey in London opened to welcome guests. Members of the King’s Guards, who guard the royal residences, entered the building. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the ceremony, including hundreds of heads of state and representatives of royal or princely families. The first guests take their seats in Westminster Abbey.

Two soldiers lined up at the entrance. The first guests arrived at the security check dressed in black. One of them was Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi. The service must take place at 12:00 p.m. (Swiss time).


■ References: “We are proud to come here and take part in this historic event”

Hundreds of Brits got up at dawn on Monday to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, looking for the best spots to see the procession that will carry her coffin pass. Victoria Bones, 42, and Sophie Denham, 26, traveled from Newcastle. They arrived in London on Sunday morning, queued 12 hours to pay their respects to the Queen at Westminster Hall and got a couple of hours sleep before arriving at the funeral.

Sophie’s family captured the video of the moment the two women walked past the coffin for the BBC. “We are proud to come here and take part in this historic event.”

Derrick Budden is a Navy veteran who served in the Gulf in the 1980s. “As a soldier, the Queen was our patroness. It was for ‘Queen and Country’.”

Maxine Roberts and her daughter Elin came from Silverstone, two hours away. She is touched by the bond that the Queen symbolized between generations. “She was born and died in the same year as her grandmother,” says Elin, touched.

“That consistency was the Queen’s great strength,” her mother continues. The Queen probably wasn’t that popular thirty years ago. She wasn’t perfect, her family had problems, divorces. But she always held on and kept going and rising above the fight.”


■ No “debate” about the place of the monarchy in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday refused to resume constitutional debates over the place of the British monarchy, whose sovereign is automatically Canada’s head of state.

“It’s not a priority for me. I don’t even intend to discuss it,” he told Radio-Canada on the eve of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. “Changing so radically a system that is among the best and most stable in the world is not for me now good idea,” Justin Trudeau decided, conjuring up “a complex and complicated moment.”

Canada, a former British colony that became independent in 1867, is a constitutional monarchy with the sovereign of the United Kingdom as head of state. With the death of Elizabeth II, the debate about the place of the monarchy was revived. According to a poll released on Friday, 58% of Canadians want a referendum on whether or not to keep the crown. That’s an increase of five points in one year.


■ At the funeral, a wait that began last night

“He’s the king, he’s the king!” The group of children rush to the car that passes behind Horse Guards Parade. The policeman on duty smiles and corrects her: “No, the king doesn’t drive in a Hyundai.” It’s Sunday evening, shortly before eight, and it’s an adventure for the small group, the oldest of whom is no more than ten years old. They have come as a family to sleep in St James Park, to be in the front row as the funeral procession passes.

Tents are lined up by the dozen along the Mall, the main street that leads to Buckingham Palace, and in the park. Thousands of other people are there, equipped with a simple sleeping bag, sometimes even just a good coat. The night promises to be chilly, but the next day will be – as everyone says – historic.

Ellie Stainforth queued up at 2pm on Friday to pay homage to the coffin at Westminster Hall in Ardent Chapel. “It was so impressive, especially the silence that reigned.” She is 26 and debunking those who say young people have no interest in royalty as she prepares to spend the night with her mother, who is too her has come to spend in the mall. “I came because of my grandmother, who has since passed away but who adored the Queen,” she specifies. “Elisabeth II was the last connection we had with my parents’ generation,” adds her mother, Helen Stainforth.

Born when talkies were still in its infancy and the British Empire was still in existence, this queen had fifteen prime ministers and a longevity surpassed only by Louis XIV of France. This constancy, this permanent point of reference, comes up regularly in the discussions.

As so often since the beginning of the ten very special days after the death of the Queen, new friendships are formed during these endless waiting times. Trevor Boulden, 69, has been talking to the two women for several hours. For him, paying homage to Elizabeth II is a matter of course: “She may have been born privileged, but what counts is what she made of her privileges. She used it primarily to do her duty and serve her people.”


■ The last visitors pay homage to the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II


■ A heavily codified procession

The procession, which will carry Queen Elizabeth’s coffin to Westminster Abbey for her state funeral and then to Windsor for her burial, is in keeping with the tradition of the British monarchy.

Royal Navy sailors will use ropes to pull the hitch mounted on a carriage carrying the deceased’s coffin, while others, 142 in all, will follow to act as a brake on the hitch. Eight soldiers from the Queen’s Company’s 1st Battalion Grenadiers Guards will have the daunting task of carrying the Queen’s coffin from Westminster Hall to the gun carriage and then into Westminster Abbey once the procession is over.

As the members of the Royal Family, led by the new King Charles III, follow the coffin, the team will notably be preceded by members of Queen Elizabeth II’s royal family, such as the Director of the Royal Collection, the “Comptroller from the Office of the Lord Chamberlain , one of the departments of the royal household or even the Queen’s private secretary.

Ahead of them will advance the pipe and drum bands of Scottish and Irish regiments, a brigade of Gurkhas, soldiers of Nepalese origin but members of the British Army, or 200 musicians from the Royal Air Force.

6,000 British Army soldiers, sailors or airmen will take part in the procession or be deployed throughout the procession’s passage, the Armies Chief of Staff Admiral Tony Radakin told the BBC on Sunday. They will perform a royal salute several times along the path of the coffin, for example when passing in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial.


■ The detailed funeral program

7:30 a.m.: The coffin display ends at Westminster Hall, which is closed to the public to be taken to nearby Westminster Abbey.

10 am.: Opening of the doors to Westminster Abbey.

10:35 a.m: The coffin is carried by the catafalque, the imposing platform on which it rests, to the gun carriage that will be waiting outside the north door of Westminster Hall.

11:44 am: The Royal Navy gun carriage sets off on a short procession to Westminster Abbey, pulled by 142 seamen.

11:52 am: The coffin arrives at the west gate of Westminster Abbey, followed on foot by the Queen’s eldest son and heir apparent, King Charles III, and the other members of the royal family. The coffin is carried by the carriage into the interior of the building.

12 o’clock: Start of the State Funeral conducted by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle. The homily will be delivered by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, of which the British Sovereign is the formal head.

12:55 p.m. (approximately): the bugle sounds, followed by two minutes of silence across Britain.

1 p.m. (approximately): the ceremony ends with the national anthem and a musical lament.

1:15 p.m.: The coffin is hauled from the gun carriage towards Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner near Buckingham Palace, followed by the royal family and a procession to the sound of Big Ben and cannon shots.

2 p.m. (approximately): The coffin arrives at Wellington Arch and is then placed in the royal hearse for the journey towards Windsor.

4:10 p.m.: The hearse arrives in Windsor and enters the ‘Long Walk’, an impressive straight path of more than 4 kilometers that leads to Windsor Castle.

4:40 p.m. (approximately): The King and senior members of the Royal Family join the procession on foot from the Quadrangle, Windsor Castle’s Great Court, before the procession concludes at 3:53pm at the Chapel.

17 o’clock: The funeral service begins in the Chapel of Saint-Georges in the presence of members of the royal family and the 15 Prime Ministers of the kingdoms who ruled with the British Sovereign as Head of State. About 45 minutes later the coffin descends into the royal tomb.

8:30 p.m: A private burial ceremony will be held at the King George VI Memorial in St George’s Chapel. The Queen rests next to her husband Prince Philip.

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