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Queen Elizabeth II Had Plans For Her Own Funeral

“Her Majesty’s passing has left many people , across many continents with a profound sense of loss,” says the Earl Marshal (the Duke of Norfolk) who has responsibility for the delivery of state occasions, including state funerals.
20 Sep 2022 11:13
Queen Elizabeth II Had Plans For Her Own Funeral
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, now rests in peace at the age of 96, after reigning for 70 years.

As more plans are revealed of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, one thing is certain: it will be like nothing we have ever seen before.

The fact that planning for the state occasion began many years ago, with the Queen consulted on every single aspect, adds a whole new level of poignancy.

It’s as if the sovereign is speaking to her people one last time, a final act to unite not just her subjects in the UK and her realms, but viewers around the world.

 

Global heads of state, national leaders, royalty, plus key figures in the Commonwealth will provide a tapestry of power sitting side by side in Westminster Abbey to pay their respects and express their admiration and affection for Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

“Her Majesty’s passing has left many people , across many continents with a profound sense of loss,” says the Earl Marshal (the Duke of Norfolk) who has responsibility for the delivery of state occasions, including state funerals.

He says the funeral will “resonate with people of all faiths while fulfilling Her Majesty and her family’s wishes to pay a fitting tribute to an extraordinary reign”.

 

Details The Queen Planned

There will be many special touches that were specifically requested by the late Queen, including the playing of a lament by her personal piper, who used to serenade the Queen every morning with a harmonious wake-up call outside her bedroom window.

The music for the service and the readings were also all chosen by the sovereign and the service in Westminster Abbey will end with a national two-minute silence.

State funerals in the UK are usually reserved for monarchs and the only British monarch not to be honoured in this way was Edward VIII, whose shocking abdication is the reason Elizabeth came to the throne in the first place.

 

But there have been exceptions. The last state funeral was for British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

It was the Queen who ordered the honour: she wanted to allow the British people to pay tribute the man who had led the nation through World War II.

Key royal funerals in the past few decades – for The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales — were mostly ceremonial funerals.

 

Pulled By Sailors

While state and ceremonial can look very similar, the main difference is that in the State Funeral the gun carriage carrying the coffin is pulled by sailors from the Royal Navy, not horses.

“The State Gun Carriage is a field gun that been in the care of the Royal navy since 1901, when it was removed from active service for the funeral of Queen Victoria,” a senior Palace official explains.

 

“The State Gun Carriage has also been previously used for the funerals of Kings Edward VII, King George V, King George VI (the Queen’s father), Winston Churchill and Lord Louis Mountbatten.”

The carriage will be drawn by 142 Royal Naval Ratings (naval service personnel).

 

How Royals Were Fare-welled

Plans for Prince Philip’s ceremonial funeral had to be changed considerably in line with the strict pandemic regulations in place at the time.

Only 30 people were allowed to attend, their seating socially distanced inside St George’s Chapel and we all remember the sight of the Queen: stoic and alone at the service.

Like his wife, Philip planned his own funeral and said he wanted minimal “fuss” with no sermons or eulogies, and the emphasis on his military connections.

 

His coffin was carried by members of the Grenadier Guards who lifted it onto a Land Rover the Duke had custom-designed for the purpose and his sons and grandsons walked behind the coffin. The Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002 was a much grander affair.

Like her daughter, her body lay in state in Westminster Hall so members of the public could pay their respects in person. Her funeral, too, was at Westminster Abbey and ended with a two-minute silence.

The Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, died a couple of months before their mother and her funeral was very low-key, just for friends and family, with her body cremated.

 

A Scene From The Past Repeating

Probably the most memorable royal funeral globally was that of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. This was a royal ceremonial funeral with the coffin processed through London for an hour and three quarters.

When the procession passed St James’s Palace her ex-husband Prince Charles, her brother Earl Spencer and her sons Prince William, age 15, and Prince Harry, age 12, joined to walk behind the coffin.

 

It is one of the most abiding and deeply affecting scenes from the occasion, and the siblings have since revealed how traumatic that day was for them.

The brothers also walked briefly behind their grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin last year, with their cousin Peter Phillips between them.

At the Queen’s funeral they will walk shoulder to shoulder, their recent differences cast aside as they unite in grief for their beloved grandmother.

 

Story By: ABC News

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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