Queen to be buried in private service after millions watch royal funeral

Queen Elizabeth II will on Monday evening be buried in a private ceremony — hours after her state funeral at Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday.

The late monarch will be laid to rest in Windsor Castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel, marking the end of 10 days of national mourning that have transfixed the world.

While only the Queen’s family will attend the final, private service at Windsor, the royal funeral at Westminster Abbey is likely to be watched by millions of people globally.

Since Wednesday afternoon, the Queen’s coffin has been “lying in state” atop a catafalque in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of parliament.

Thousands of people were on Thursday queueing for up to nine hours to pay their respects.

The queue to see the coffin stretched more than four miles along the south bank of the river Thames, past such landmarks as Tower Bridge and the Tate Modern and crossing Lambeth Bridge as it neared Westminster Hall.

Inside, two lines of almost silent mourners have filed past, day and night, respecting instructions not to take photographs or make recordings.

The coffin is draped in the Royal Standard and atop it are the imperial state crown and an orb and sceptre, with King Charles III’s Body Guard keeping watch.

The Queen’s children — the King, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward — will on Friday at 7.30pm hold their own vigil.

After a pause in public appearances on Saturday, King Charles will on Sunday host a dinner at Buckingham Palace for dignitaries visiting Britain for the funeral.

They will include leaders such as US president Joe Biden, France’s president Emmanuel Macron, Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese and Canada’s premier Justin Trudeau. UK prime minister Liz Truss will also be present.

A national moment of reflection will take place at 8pm on Sunday and be marked by a minute’s silence.

The lying-in-state will end at 6.30am on Monday morning, by which time officials expect about 750,000 people to have viewed the Queen’s coffin.

At 10.44am it will be carried to Westminster Abbey on a gun carriage first used for Queen Victoria’s funeral more than 120 years ago.

The coffin will be followed by the King, members of the royal family and members of the King’s household.

The funeral will be attended by more than 2,000 people, who will start arriving at 8am, including heads of state, foreign royals and staff from some of the charities supported by the Queen.

Three hours later, the funeral will begin, conducted by the Dean of Westminster. Lessons will be read by Truss and Commonwealth secretary-general Baroness Patricia Scotland while Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will give the sermon.

The service will end at about midday with the Last Post, a two-minute silence, a reveille, the national anthem and a lament played by the Queen’s personal piper.

From there, a large entourage — including royals, military personnel and NHS staff — will escort the Queen’s coffin as it journeys from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, en route to Windsor. Big Ben will toll for the duration of the procession.

At Wellington Arch, the coffin will be transferred to the state hearse and travel by road via the Long Walk to Windsor for a committal service, which will start at 4pm. Some 800 people will be in attendance.

During that service conducted by the Dean of Windsor, the Lord Chamberlain will “break” his wand of office and place it on the coffin, which will then be lowered into the royal vault.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will pronounce the blessing and the national anthem will be sung.

The final private burial service will take place at 7.30pm at the King George VI Memorial Chapel. The third service of the day, it will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor and attended by close family. The Queen is to be buried alongside her husband as well as her parents.

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