Queen Elizabeth’s hour-long state funeral, the first in Britain since the death of her first prime minister Winston Churchill in 1965, will take place today at Westminster Abbey in London.
Here are the top points in this big story:
- The funeral will bring to an end 11 days of national mourning across the United Kingdom that has seen the personal sorrow of the royal family play out in the glare of intense international attention.
- World leaders will join Britain’s royal family, its political elite and members of the military, judiciary and charitable organizations at the state funeral.
- The funeral will be shown by around 125 cinemas across Britain, while parks, squares and cathedrals will also set up viewing screens for the huge ceremonial event, the government said on Saturday.
- At the funeral, the Queen’s coffin will be carried on the same gun carriage used for her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s funeral. The spectacular ceremony at Westminster Abbey – expected to be watched by billions around the globe – will see 142 sailors pulling the gun-carriage bearing her lead-lined coffin.
- The route will be lined by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. The procession will pass by Parliament Square where members of the navy, army and air force will form a Guard of Honor, accompanied by a band of the Royal Marines.
- The procession will be led by Scottish and Irish regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas and the Royal Air Force numbering 200 musicians. The coffin will be followed by King Charles and members of the royal family.
- The influx of dignitaries – along with that of hundreds of thousands of mourners from across Britain and around the world – poses an extraordinary challenge for Britain’s police. More than 2,000 officers have been drafted from across the country to help Scotland Yard.
- While the leaders of the European Union, France, Japan, India and many other countries will attend, those of Russia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria and North Korea were not invited.
- After the televised service, the Queen’s coffin will be transferred by royal hearse to Windsor Castle, west of London, for a committal service. That will be followed by a family-only burial in which the queen will be laid to rest alongside her late husband Prince Philip, her parents and her sister.
- Queen Elizabeth reigned for 70 years and 214 days – the first British sovereign to celebrate a platinum jubilee. She died aged 96.