HM Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral: guests wear sombre black to service in Westminster Abbey


Chloe Street and Joe Bromley

Tue, 20 September 2022 at 6:38 pm

The first guests have started to arrive for the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

2,000 royals, world leaders and dignitaries will file into the church where Her Majesty married Prince Philip in 1947 and had her coronation in 1953, before the service starts at 11am.

It is expected that most guests will wear black, with a few exceptions for military attire or – as was the case at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh – black mourning coats with medals.

First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba (Getty Images)
First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba (Getty Images)

Debretts, the 1769 founded publisher of etiquette and behaviour, has a dedicated section of the website detailing the dress code for royals at state funerals. “Custom dictates the Royal Family adheres to a strict dress code at state funerals. An all black dress code is always respected,” it reads. “Ladies wear black knee length dresses, or coats, black hats, and may also wear face-covering veils.”

Bear Grylls (Getty Images)
Bear Grylls (Getty Images)

Most of the VIPs arrived by coach, meeting at the Royal Hospital Chelsea before being put on a bus into Central London. British politicians past and present were among the first arrivals including Ben Wallace, Nadham Zahawi and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Television presenter Bear Grylls also arrived early doors wearing traditional morning dress, consisting of tails and grey striped trousers; while the likes of Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer opted for black suits, white shirts and ties.

Brigitte Macron and President of France, Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)
Brigitte Macron and President of France, Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived arm-in-arm with wife Brigitte , who wore a sharp tailored, peaked lapel overcoat with a matching pillbox hat and veil, leather gloves and black high heels with a metallic silver trim.

The First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba was similarly elegant in an over-the-knee, collarless overcoat worn with a large, circular diamond broach and carrying a Lady Dior handbag in a black croc finish.

Jill Biden (Getty Images)
Jill Biden (Getty Images)

Jill Biden looked immaculate as ever as she joined her husband U.S. President, Joe Biden in a smart, black dress with gold and silver floral metal buttons. She added a black clutch bag, and twisted ribbon headpiece to finish the on-point ensemble.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (Getty Images)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (Getty Images)

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex approached the Abbey together. For the occasion Markle wore a sleek, caped Stella McCartney gown while the Countess of Wessex opted for a beautifully embroidered dress by Suzannah London, the luxury brand designed by Suzannah Crabb. Crabb also dressed Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair, for the funeral.

Sarah, Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi (Getty Images)
Sarah, Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi (Getty Images)

The Duchess of York and Princess Beatrice, who has recently been appointed as Counsellor of State, and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi took a moment outside the Abbey before the service began.

Opting for something different to the traditional dress coats worn by the likes of Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Beatrice chose a cropped tuxedo blazer and A-line dress with lace pannels , while her husband stuck to tradtion in his morning suit.

Scroll the gallery above for all the arrival looks

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