The Daily Telegraph

Queen’s ‘family of nations’ at centre of her funeral

Commonweal­th growth under Her Majesty is a part of her legacy that will be reflected in its members’ involvemen­t at the service

- By Gordon Rayner and Victoria Ward

IT WAS often said that Queen Elizabeth II’S proudest achievemen­t was the expansion of the Commonweal­th, the “family of nations” that she spent her entire reign building up to the 56-member associatio­n that exists today.

So it was only fitting that the Commonweal­th should be given a prominent role in her state funeral, in accordance with her final wishes.

As Buckingham Palace released more details of the funeral arrangemen­ts yesterday, it emerged that “Mounties” of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will have the honour of leading the coffin procession through London as it is taken from Westminste­r Abbey to Wellington Arch to begin its journey to Windsor.

The late monarch was given her favourite horse, Burmese, by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969 and rode the mare at Trooping the Colour for 18 consecutiv­e years.

Among those following behind will be detachment­s from the armed forces of the Commonweal­th, thought to include troops from New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

Baroness Scotland, the secretary general of the Commonweal­th, was chosen to read lessons in the service, alongside Liz Truss, the Prime Minister.

Such was the late Queen’s devotion to the Commonweal­th that without her, many believe it would not exist today.

That legacy will be reflected in a state funeral like no other, as world leaders, service personnel and royal families travel from across the globe to pay tribute.

The procession to Westminste­r Abbey

The final members of the public will be admitted to Westminste­r Hall to view the Queen’s lying in state at 6.30am on Monday, after which preparatio­ns for the state funeral will take precedence.

At 10.35am on Monday, a bearer party founded by The Queen’s Company, 1st Bn Grenadier Guards, will lift the coffin from the catafalque and place it on the state gun carriage of the Royal Navy, which was retired from service in 1901 for the funeral of Queen Victoria. It will be drawn by hand by 142 Royal Navy ratings through Parliament Square, where a tri-service Guard of Honour will be standing to attention.

Led by the massed pipes and drums of the Scottish and Irish regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas and the RAF, the coffin, which will be followed on foot by the King and members of the Royal family, will arrive at the West Gate of Westminste­r Abbey at 10.52am, where the bearer party will carry it into the Abbey and place it on a catafalque.

The state funeral

Beginning at 11am, the state funeral is expected to be one of the most-watched televised events in history, with potential global figures reaching the billions.

It will be conducted by the Dean of Westminste­r, with lessons read by the Prime Minister and Commonweal­th secretary general, and a sermon delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The 2,000-strong congregati­on, who will start arriving from 8am, will include Royal family members, heads of state and members of the Government, but also emergency workers, George Cross and Victoria Cross recipients and members of the public who were recognised for their public service in the most recent Queen’s birthday honours.

Visiting heads of state and overseas government representa­tives will muster at the Royal Hospital Chelsea to be taken in buses to the Abbey, though socalled “top tier” heads of state, including Joe Biden, the US president, will be allowed to use their own transport.

The order of service has not yet been released, but at 11.55am, the Last Post will sound, followed by a two minutes’ silence both in the Abbey and throughout the UK. The service will end at noon with the National Anthem and a lament played by the Queen’s piper, Pipe Major Paul Burns of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The bearer party will then carry the coffin back to the waiting gun carriage for the next stage of the late Queen’s journey.

When the service ends, visiting heads of state will walk to Church House next to the Abbey for a reception hosted by James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary.

The procession to Wellington Arch

For the last time, the late Queen’s coffin will pass the London landmarks that dictated her life’s routine through annual rituals that she performed 70 times. At 12.15pm, the coffin procession will set off for Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, taking it through Whitehall, The Mall, past the front of Buckingham Palace and up Constituti­on Hill.

The route will be lined by members of the Armed Forces and members of the public will be able to watch.

Mounties of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will lead the procession, followed by George Cross recipients, NHS workers, officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and detachment­s of the Armed Forces. There will be seven groups in total, each supported by a service band.

The coffin will be flanked by the sovereign’s ceremonial bodyguards, including Yeomen of the Guard and the Royal Company of Archers, and the King and other members of the Royal family will walk behind it.

Minute guns will be fired by the King’s Troop and Royal Horse Artillery, and Big Ben will toll throughout the procession.

At the Cenotaph, where the late Queen attended Remembranc­e Sunday services every year, ex-service associatio­n standard bearers will stand to attention; at Horse Guards, the location of the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony, the King’s Life Guard will give a royal salute to the coffin. And on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, the King’s Guard will give another royal salute as the coffin passes the Queen Victoria Memorial.

The procession will arrive at Wellington Arch at 1pm, where the coffin will be placed in a state hearse for the journey to Windsor.

From London to Windsor Castle

The hearse is expected to take almost two hours to make the 20-mile journey from Wellington Arch to Windsor Castle. Precise details of the route have not yet been published, but the hearse is expected to be driven through London suburbs and Berkshire villages so that as many members of the public as possible can see it go past, while the Royal family go on ahead via the faster M4.

At 3.06pm, the hearse will approach Shaw Farm Gate on Albert Road, Windsor and join a procession that will have been formed up and in position by then.

At 3.10pm, the procession will step off, travelling up the Long Walk to Windsor Castle and entering via the George IV Gate. Minute guns will be fired from the east lawn and both the Sebastopol Bell – brought back from the Crimean War and only struck when a monarch dies – and the Curfew Tower Bell, which rings on major royal occasions, will toll.

The King and other members of the Royal family will be waiting in the quadrangle of the Castle, where they will fall in behind the coffin at 3.40pm and walk the short distance through the Castle precincts to St George’s Chapel.

The hearse will stop at the bottom of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel at 3.53pm and the coffin will be carried inside and placed on a catafalque in the quire, in the same spot that Prince Philip’s coffin was placed during his funeral last year.

The Committal Service

Members of the Royal family will be joined by members of Her Majesty’s household past and present, including personal staff who work, or have worked, on the Sandringha­m and Balmoral estates. They are expected to include footmen, cooks, gamekeeper­s and gardeners as well as administra­tive staff.

Governors general and prime ministers of the Commonweal­th realms will arrive at 3.20pm, with members of the Royal family who are not walking behind the coffin arriving at 3.25pm.

The service will begin at 4pm, conducted by the Dean of Windsor, with prayers said by the Rector of Sandringha­m, the Minister of Crathie Kirk and the Chaplain of Windsor Great Park.

In what is likely to be one of the most moving moments of the day, Queen Elizabeth II will finally part company with the Imperial State Crown, orb and sceptre near the end of the committal.

Throughout her lying in state, the symbols of monarchy have adorned her coffin, and they will only be removed in the final moments before the public sees its last images of the monarch’s coffin.

Before the final hymn is sung, Mark Appleby, the Crown Jeweller, will remove the crown, orb and sceptre from the coffin, with the help of the Bargemaste­r and the Serjeants-at-arms (royal servants who guard the regalia during State occasions), and pass them one by one to the Dean of Windsor, who will place them on the High Altar.

While the crown represents the sovereign’s power over her subjects, the orb, made up of a cross above a globe, represents Christ’s earthly dominion and symbolises the monarch’s status as God’s mortal representa­tive. The sceptre, which holds the world’s largest cut diamond, the Cullinan I, represents equity and mercy. They will be presented to the King at his Coronation next year.

At the end of the hymn, the King will place a military flag on top of the coffin, which, according to the Army, will be placed inside the coffin before it is interred.

The Grenadier Guards Queen’s Company Camp Colour – a small flag that normally adorns the Company Captain’s bunk designatin­g his place of work – is unique to each sovereign and ceases to be used when they die. The full-sized version of the flag is currently draped at the foot of the Queen’s coffin as she lies in state. The Grenadier Guards are the most senior of the Foot Guards regiments, and the Queen was their Colonel in Chief.

Once the King has placed the colours on top of the coffin, the Lord Chamberlai­n, the most senior officer of the Royal household, will break his wand of office and place it on the coffin.

As the coffin is lowered into the royal vault – as Prince Philip’s coffin was on the day of his funeral last year – the Dean of Windsor will say a psalm and the commendati­on before the Garter King of Arms reads out the styles and titles of the Queen.

The burial

Queen Elizabeth II will be lowered into her final resting place alongside her husband, parents and sister in a “deeply personal” private ceremony attended only by her closest family members.

The late Queen will be interred in a tiny family vault, which she commission­ed in 1962 as a burial place for her father, King George VI. It was designed, in accordance with her wishes, to accommodat­e her mother, Queen Elizabeth, her husband, Prince Philip, and herself.

The interment will not be televised or photograph­ed, and the chapel is so small that only the late Queen’s four children are expected to be inside it for the interment itself, together with the Dean of Windsor and the pallbearer­s who will lower the two lead-lined coffins into the vault.

A senior palace official said: “The burial will be entirely private, given it is a deeply personal family occasion.”

Having been temporaril­y lowered into the royal vault during the committal in St George’s Chapel, the late Queen’s coffin and that of Prince Philip will be put on an electric lift, hoisted back into the chapel and carried to the King George VI Memorial Chapel ready for the interment ceremony at 7.30pm.

The black Belgian marble stone that covers the vault will be lifted and the coffins will be interred alongside the late Queen’s parents and her sister, Princess Margaret, whose ashes were placed in a nook to one side when the vault was opened in 2002 for the interment of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

The stone will be replaced, and the names of Elizabeth II and Philip added to it, where the public will, eventually, be able to see the final resting place of our most dutiful monarch.

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