Thousands lined up along the streets of London for the procession of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin to Westminster Hall, the home of the UK Parliament, to lie the queen in state.
Crowds of mourners packed the streets between Buckingham Palace and Westminster—the route which the Queen’s coffin took in a slow ceremonial procession.
An open gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, drawn by a team of black horses, carried the coffin of the queen as it departed the palace for Westminster Hall where it will lie in state for four full days until her funeral on Monday.
The gun carriage, known as the George Gun Carriage, used on Queen Elizabeth II is the same that carried King George VI’s coffin in 1952 and was also used in the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002.
The coffin was draped in the Royal Standard and was topped by the Imperial State Crown and a wreath made up of white roses and dahlias, as well as foliage from the Queen’s estates in Balmoral and Windsor.
Royal family members in London procession of Queen’s Coffin
During the procession of the coffin, King Charles III, wearing a full ceremonial uniform and carrying his field marshal baton, led the royal family members as they followed behind Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on foot.
The King was accompanied by his siblings, as well as his sons, Prince William, dressed in his Royal Air Force uniform, and Prince Harry in a morning suit.
The royal correspondent, Sean Coughlan, said that the sight of the brothers together walking behind the coffin, evoked poignant memories of their mother Diana’s funeral twenty-five years ago.
Members of the Royal Household followed the procession behind the mounted Metropolitan Police, headed by the Household Cavalry. The Grenadier and Scots Guards followed just ahead of the Queen’s coffin.
The King’s former household members also followed the King and other royals behind the coffin, bringing up the rear of the procession including, Camilla, the Queen Consort. The Princess of Wales, the Countess of Wessex, and the Duchess of Sussex traveled to the hall by car.
Members of the armed forces, which numbered over one thousand in ceremonial dress, took part in events surrounding the parade, They fired guns from Hyde Park at one-minute intervals throughout the procession.
The King’s Life Guard, a senior regiment of the army and part of the Household Cavalry, gave a royal salute as the coffin went through Horse Guards Arch before joining the parade.
A guard of honor made up of members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force lined the east side of Parliament Square accompanied by the band of the Royal Marines playing muffled drums.
The Queen lying-in-state in Westminster Hall
Upon arrival in Westminster Hall, the Queen’s coffin was placed in position by the Grenadier Guards, as the choirs of Westminster Abbey and His Majesty’s Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace sang.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, accompanied by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle, led a short service, attended by the King and members of the Royal Family.
The Queen will then lie in state until her funeral on Monday, September 19th, which has been declared a Bank Holiday across the UK. During this period, Westminster Hall will be open for twenty-four hours a day.
The last member of the Royal Family to lie in state in the grand hall, which is the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster and the heart of the British government, was the Queen Mother in 2002, when more than two hundred thousand people queued to view her coffin.
The Queen’s closed coffin is resting on a raised platform, known as a catafalque, beneath the 11th Century hall’s medieval timber roof with each corner of the platform being guarded in a continuous vigil by soldiers from units that serve the Royal Household.
The coffin will remain draped in the Royal Standard and will be topped with the Imperial State Crown along with the Sovereign’s orb and scepter. The public will be allowed to enter the hall to file past the coffin and pay their respects.