The Queen‘s state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19 September, Buckingham Palace has announced.
However, Her Majesty will be buried in her beloved Windsor, in the King George VI memorial chapel.
The chapel is set on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the estate the Queen moved to permanently for the last few years of her life.
It is named after the Queen’s father, who died from a coronary thrombosis in 1952, aged 56. The chapel was finished in 1969 and King George VI was moved there later that year.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was buried in the chapel after she died aged 101 in 2002.
Princess Margaret also died in 2002, seven weeks before the Queen Mother. Her ashes were brought to the chapel following the Queen Mother’s death so she could be with her mother and father.
After the Queen has been buried in the chapel, Prince Philip will be moved to be in the chapel with her. He was previously interred in the Royal Vault at St Georges Chapel.
Like other members of the royal family, the Queen will likely be buried in a lead-lined coffin as this helps the body to be preserved for longer. Lead stops moisture getting in the coffin and makes it airtight.
On September 8, Buckingham Palace announced the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle. She served in her role for 70 years, and she made history by becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
This significant milestone means that the U.K. public have never seen another member of the royal family in the highest seat of power. For many, Queen Elizabeth II was the only leader they have ever known. Now, with her death many are wondering what will happen next.
There is a plan of extremely detailed protocols already in place, labeled by the U.K. government as Operation London Bridge (the name has since changed to Operation UNICORN as she died outside of England). Some elements of the plan include what happens when the queen dies, funeral plans and the line of succession.
What happens when the Queen dies:
According to a September 2021 report from Politico, there is a list of things that go into motion right after the monarch’s death, including:
i. Prime Minister Liz Truss will get word from the Queen’s personal secretary, along with a number of elected officials and ministers, who will also get a private notification before the public is informed.
ii. The Prime Minister and her Cabinet will then meet at London’s St. Pancras station to collect the Queen’s coffin.
iii. King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort will then travel throughout the U.K. in the days before the royal funeral.
iv. Flags across the Palace of Whitehall in Westminster will ceremoniously be lowered to half mast.
v. The official website of the royal family will be switched to a statement proclaiming the Queen’s death. (This has since been updated to include information about the newest reigning monarch).
vi. King Charles will deliver a speech which will be broadcasted across the U.K. at 6 p.m. British local time, alongside a service of remembrance at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Immediately following these instructions, Operation UNICORN will launch into its 10-day plan:
The Day One:
King Charles will be named the new reigning monarch, and all business affairs in Parliament will shut down for 10 days. In his first public statement, he addressed the impact of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, both personally and professionally.
“Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen — my beloved Mother — was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example,” he said.
King Charles continued: “Queen Elizabeth’s was a life well lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today … On behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support. They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express.”
“And to my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: Thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May ‘flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest,'” he concluded.
The Day Two:
Prime Minister Liz Truss and her Cabinet will meet with the Queen’s coffin at St. Pancras station. As she died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, either the body will be brought to London via either a train or an airplane (the latter option is called “Operation Overstudy”).
On September 11, outlets reported that Queen Elizabeth II’s body left the family estate in a see-through hearse. Scottish residents paid their respects are she passed through towns and villages with her coffin covered in the Royal Standard of Scotland and white flowers.
Days Three and Four:
King Charles and Queen Camilla will begin their tour of the U.K. Day four will also be a rehearsal day for the royal procession of Queen Elizabeth’s coffin. It will start at Buckingham Palace and end at the Palace of Westminster, where the funeral will take place.
The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will take place on Monday, September 19 at Westminster Abbey in London, England.
The Day Five:
The official royal procession begins, which will conclude with a funeral service at Westminster Hall.
The Days Six to the End of the Funeral:
The Queen’s coffin will make its way to the Palace of Westminster, where it will stay for three days and give the public a chance to pay their respects. During this time, elected official and royals worldwide will make their way to London for the funeral.
The Day of the Funeral:
The funeral is expected to take place at Westminster Abbey, which will also include a two-minute moment of silence throughout the U.K. at midday. A smaller service will then be held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the Queen will be buried on the grounds’ King George VI Memorial Chapel.
Per Politico, Queen Elizabeth II and the Prime Minister agreed to let the day of her funeral be a “Day of National Mourning.” It will be treated as if it was a bank holiday, but no time off should her death fall on another bank holiday or weekend.