Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will take place on 19 September in Westminster Abbey. King Charles III announced yesterday during his inauguration that he had proclaimed a bank holyday for that day: offices and schools will be closed, only public services and some shops will remain in business. These days, the body of the Sovereign remained in the castle of Balmoral, to ensure that everyone’s attention was focused only on the ascension to the throne of her son. But from today the focus will shift back to the Queen and what will happen between now and the day of her funeral ceremony.
Harry and Meghan with William and Kate at Windsor Castle for the tribute to Queen Elizabeth: peace thanks to the invitation of the Prince of Wales
ON THE FUNERAL PLANE
In charge of organizing the sad event is Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, who has already decided everything down to the smallest detail. The Queen will be taken today in a hearse to Edinburgh, more than 250 kilometers away, to the royal residence of Holyroodhouse. She will pass through Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth before reaching the capital of Scotland, where King Charles and Queen Camilla, with William and other relatives of her, will join her. From the palace you will start a funeral procession headed for St Giles’ church, followed on foot by the closest relatives and by car by the others. The body of the Sovereign will remain in the church for a day, to receive the homage of the Scots. Then, at 6pm on Tuesday, he will be loaded onto a plane and taken to the Northolt military airport, where he will land, according to the precise instructions of the Duke of Norfolk, at 18.55. It will be Princess Anne who will accompany her mother on this sad return journey, which will end at Buckingham Palace.
Elisabetta will be taken to the Bow Room, where Carlo and Camilla will wait for her. The next morning, Wednesday 14th, a procession made up of Carlo, Camilla, William, other relatives and various personalities, will follow the coffin through the Mall, Horse Guards Parade and Parliament Square to the Palace of Westminster. There will be no bands playing funeral marches: the procession will proceed in silence, which will be broken only by the distant noise of traffic on Piccadilly and the birdsong of St James Park. The coffin will be covered by the Royal Standard, on which the magnificent Imperial State Crown will be placed in Westminster, made of gold, silver and platinum and adorned with 2,868 diamonds, 270 pearls, 16 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies. The Sovereign’s body will be exhibited in Westminster Hall, the oldest hall in the palace, for four days, during which time she will receive people’s homage for 23 hours each day. For her father of her George VI of her, in 1952, 300,000 people paraded, for her there will be many more than her.
On Monday, at 10.44 am, the coffin will be moved in procession to nearby Westminster Abbey for the funeral ceremony to be celebrated by the dean of the Abbey, David Hoyle. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will deliver the sermon and Premier Liz Truss will read a sacred text. The whole town will observe two minutes of silence, during which every activity will stop in a respectful homage.
The funerals of British kings were hardly ever held in Westminster Abbey, which is reserved for baptisms and royal weddings. The last funeral in Westminster was that of George II, in 1760. For Elizabeth’s father, George VI, and for almost all the other sovereigns, the ceremony took place in St George’s Chapel in Windsor, almost privately after the chamber. burning in Westminster and the greetings of the subjects in the funeral procession. But it was Elizabeth herself who gave orders for her funeral to be in her Abbey, very dear to her because it was that of her marriage to Philip and her coronation. The ceremony will begin at 11 am and will be broadcast live on televisions around the world.
The funeral procession will leave the church and the coffin will be loaded onto a cannon carriage, pulled by sailors. The last time it happened was for Louis Mountbatten, the Sovereign’s uncle killed by IRA terrorists. His coffin was moved by 142 sailors. At Wellington Arch, at the corner of Hyde Park, near where was the house that Elizabeth had lived as a child, and in which she had learned from her father that she would one day become queen. Here the coffin will be transferred to a hearse and taken to Windsor Castle.
The Sovereign has given orders to be buried not in the chapel where her parents and sister rest, but in the Royal Vault in which her husband Philip was buried, whom she will now reach confirming the great love she has always had for him, the rock of his life. At her funeral, Elizabeth had poured a handful of earth on her coffin, and Charles will do the same for her. Then, amid the tears of all present, the tombstone will close and the name of the last great queen in history will be added to the tomb.
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