Today, Wednesday September 14, Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin made its way out of Buckingham Palace, where it resided in the Bow Room overnight, to its resting place at Westminster Hall.
This morning, prayers commenced in front of King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla and other members of the royal family, before the coffin was prepared for the procession for the lying-in-state of Queen Elizabeth II, which took it to Westminster Hall.
The procession passed the Horse Guards Parade, the Cenotaph and Downing Street, as well as a statue of the Queen’s parents, King George VI and the Queen Mother, which overlooks the Mall.
As the coffin departed the palace gates, a silence drew across the crowd of thousands, while the only sound to be heard came from a black drape-clad drum beating at 75 paces per minute. Upon sighting the coffin, with the crown resting atop, many mourners removed their hats in a show of respect.
In a gesture that will echo the scenes 25 years ago at their mother Princess Diana’s funeral, when William was just 15 and Harry 12, the royal siblings accompanied King Charles behind a gun carriage carrying the Queen.
King Charles III and his siblings Princess Anne and Prince Edward, as well as his son Prince William, were wearing military uniforms at the procession. King Charles wore a full day ceremonial uniform with the rank of Field Marshal. He carried a Field Marshal baton that was presented to him by his mother 2012. On his chest were pinned the Order of Merit and the Order of the Garter Sash and Star. Prince William of Wales was in his Royal Air Force No. 1 uniform.
Prince Andrew and Prince Harry, who followed the coffin immediately behind King Charles and Princess Anne, wore formal morning suits, rather than military dress, as neither Harry nor Andrew are working members of the royal family.
The Queen’s coffin was transported on the George Gun Carriage, which carried King George VI’s coffin from Sandringham Church to Wolferton Station in February 1952.
As for the order of the procession, following the mounted police and the Household Cavalry, the coffin was preceded by a number of commanding officers of the armed forces, with whom the Queen had an extremely important relationship. Behind them were key members of her working household.
As the coffin arrived at Westminster Hall, it was carried by eight of the Grenadier Guards, accompanied by the choirs of the Chapel Royal and Westminster Abbey, who sang the Setting of Psalm 139. The senior members of the royal family were then joined by their spouses, including Queen Consort Camilla; Kate, the Princess of Wales; and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.