Queen Elizabeth II funeral: What role does the military play?


Members of the military attend an early morning rehearsal for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral in London ahead of her funeral on Monday.  Picture date: Thursday September 15, 2022. PA Photo.  See PA story DEATH Queen.  Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The British Army chief has said the funeral procession will be like ‘nothing any of us have seen in our lives’ (Image: PA).

That The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is taking place today, Monday September 19, attended by world leaders and expected by billions of viewers.

The funeral of the nation’s longest-serving monarch was always meant to be profound, but as Army Commander-in-Chief and Chief of Staff General Sir Patrick Sanders teased, ‘It will be like nothing any of us have seen in our lives.’

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 about the plans for the Queen’s funeral procession and the extent to which the armed forces will converge to honor the Queen, he described it as an “incredible sight”.

“It’s obviously a first and will bring together all elements of the armed forces, everyone who serves in a procession that I hope is precise and flawless, but it takes us a lot of practice to get it right like you.” I would expect.’

Here’s what to expect from the armed forces on Monday…

What role will the armed forces play at the Queen’s funeral?

In all, some 5,949 British forces are deployed on ceremonial duties in the course of Operation London Bridge, codename for the funeral after the Queen’s death.

As is customary at a state funeral, the Royal Navy’s seafarers have the honor of pulling the state funeral carriage on which Her Majesty’s coffin is carried to Westminster Abbey for the service.


Schedule for the Queen’s funeral

6.30 a.m: Lying in Westminster Hall will end.

8 o’clock: The doors to Westminster Abbey, where the funeral will take place, open three hours earlier for the 2,000 invited guests.

10.35 a.m.: Her Majesty the Queen’s coffin will leave its current location at Westminster Hall, where HM is laid out, and travel to Westminster Abbey in the State Gun Carriage.

A procession led by the Royal Navy passes through New Palace Yard, Parliament Square and the Broad Sanctuary and Sanctuary before reaching the Abbey.

The procession, which will take place to the sound of bagpipes and muffled drums, will be joined by King Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William and Prince Harry.

10:52 a.m.: The Queen’s coffin will arrive at the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey.

11 clock: The Queen’s funeral begins.

11:55 a.m.: The funeral will end with the sounds of the Last Post.

12 o’clock: The UK will observe a two-minute silence at the end of the Queen’s funeral.

12:15 p.m.: After the funeral, the Queen’s coffin is transported by horse-drawn carriage from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch near Hyde Park Corner before continuing on to Windsor.

King Charles and members of the Royal Family walk behind the coffin to Wellington Arch, Parliament Square, Parliament Street, Whitehall, Horse Guards (including Horse Guards Arch and Horse Guards Road), The Mall, Queen’s Gardens, then Constitution Hill and Apsley Path.

13 o’clock: Shortly after this time, Her Majesty’s coffin is hauled by the State Gun Carriage to the State Hearse and transported from London to Windsor by an as yet unknown road.

3:15 p.m.: Now in Windsor, the final procession begins along the Long Walk to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle at Shaw Farm Gate on Albert Road.

Once again there will be a trial by members of the royal family and the king behind the state hearse.

4 p.m.: The Queen’s coffin is carried into St George’s Chapel, where a televised service will be held by the Dean of Windsor.

19:30 o’clock: The Queen will be buried privately alongside Prince Philip in the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle.

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Ninety-eight seamen, known as the Sovereign’s Guard, will exercise this honour, which has been exercised by the Royal Navy since Queen Victoria’s funeral in 1901.

Another 40 Royal Navy personnel will march behind them and act as brakes.

This group forms the core of more than 1,000 Royal Navy personnel in the capital for the funeral, including the Bands of HM Royal Marines, marching contingents of Seafarers and Royal Marines, musicians, stewards and staff, alongside colleagues from the Army and Royal Air line the route power.

What military honors are performed at the funeral?

Minute Guns are fired in Hyde Park by the King’s Troop and Royal Horse Artillery.

Later in the day, another gun salute takes place on the East Lawn at Windsor Castle.

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British Army personnel from Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire will attend the funeral including:

  • The Royal Lancers
  • The 4th Battalion
  • The Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • The 1st Battalion
  • The Scots Guard
  • Royal Artillery of the 5th Regiment
  • British Army Band Catterick

The military has already played an important role in the ceremonies leading up to the funeral.

The Queen's procession of coffins traveling to Westminster Hall for her burial

The military were part of the Queen’s procession from the Palace to Westminster Hall (Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where Her Majesty has resided since Wednesday September 14, was attended by more than 320 staff from all military services, including more than 170 staff from the Household Division, which guards the sovereign and the king’s palaces.

Since her death, Royal Navy ships, units and establishments around the world have honored her with gun salutes at sea and on land and lowering flags to half-mast.

What was the Queen’s relationship with the military?

As sovereign, the Queen was head of the armed forces – but her connection and commitment to the military was far more personal.

The Queen was the first royal woman to serve in the armed forces (Image: Keystone/Getty Images)

In addition to being the wife, mother and grandmother of those who served in the armed forces, Her Majesty also served during World War II.

That The first female member of the royal family to serve in the armed forces, Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) at the age of 19 and trained as a driver and mechanic.

Young Princess Elizabeth was promoted to honorary junior commander, equivalent to an army captain, after five months of training.

Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, was a serving naval officer when he married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, having previously served on active service during the war.

The Queen supported veterans of the armed forces through her many patronages, including the Royal British Legion, the Union Jack Club and the Not Forgotten Association, for which she hosted an annual garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

Her Majesty also made it a priority to always serve at memorial services and even travel alone to continue the tradition of laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the coronavirus pandemic.

MORE : Gun salute fired to honor the Queen, with one to mark each year of her life

MORE: The epic scale of the Queen’s funeral and how it will be the biggest telecast in history

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