Harry, William to join Charles in following queen’s coffin on last journey from palace

14 September 2022 - 11:24 By Michael Holden and Kate Holton
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The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is transported in the royal hearse from an RAF aircraft to Buckingham Palace in London.
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is transported in the royal hearse from an RAF aircraft to Buckingham Palace in London.
Image: Andrew Matthews /WPA Pool/Getty Images

King Charles, his sons Princes William and Harry and other senior royals will join a solemn procession as Queen Elizabeth's coffin is taken from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to lie in state in parliament.

After the queen's death last week at her summer home of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, her coffin was taken to Edinburgh for a series of poignant ceremonies. It was then flown to London late on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of people lined the 22km route in driving rain and cars parked on normally busy roads to see the well-lit hearse driving slowly to Buckingham Palace, drawing applause, cheers and hooting.

At the palace, the flag-draped coffin was met by Charles and the queen's children, grandchildren and their spouses who had gathered for the first time since their matriarch died.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys,” said Elizabeth's daughter Anne, 72, who flew from Scotland with the coffin. “Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been humbling and uplifting.”

The queen's death, at the age of 96, has plunged the nation into mourning for a monarch who reigned for 70 years.

On Wednesday, the Imperial State Crown will be placed on top of the coffin, along with a wreath. Prayers will be said with Charles and other royals present.

At 2.22pm, it will be placed on a gun carriage of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery to be taken through central London to Westminster Hall, a medieval building with origins dating back to 1097 that is the oldest building on the parliamentary estate.

Charles will walk in silence behind the carriage with other senior royals, including his siblings Anne, Andrew and Edward.

Also in the procession will be his sons William, 40, now the Prince of Wales, and Harry, 37, the Duke of Sussex, whose once close relationship has deteriorated in recent years to such an extent that they were said to barely be on speaking terms.

However, they appeared together with their wives when they met well-wishers outside Windsor Castle on Saturday in a show of unity which hinted at a possible rapprochement.

Kate, William's wife and now the Princess of Wales, and Harry's wife, Meghan, will travel by car, as will Charles' wife Camilla, now the Queen Consort.

With much of central London closed to traffic, large crowds are expected to line the route to watch Wednesday's procession, which will be accompanied by guns firing every minute at Hyde Park while parliament's Big Ben bell will toll.

When the cortege reaches Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster, the coffin will be carried inside by soldiers from the Grenadier Guards and placed on a catafalque. There will be a short service conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the Anglican Church.

Four days of lying-in-state will then begin until the funeral on September 19.

A senior palace official described Wednesday's event as relatively small and personal. The full-scale ceremonial procession on September 19 is likely to be one of the biggest the country has ever witnessed.

With as many as 750,000 mourners expected to file past the coffin during its period of lying-in-state, people queued and slept on the streets in the rain to pay their final respects.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event to honour a once-in-a-lifetime woman,” said Andrew Israels-Swenson from Minnesota, who added that his 82-year-old British mother asked him to attend to “represent the family”.

Jacqui D’Arcy, from Essex, eastern England, arrived at the queue at 6pm on Tuesday to pay her respects to the late monarch but also represent her elderly parents. “I still can't think that she's not with us,” she said.

In Scotland about 33,000 people filed past the coffin during the 24 hours it was at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, but the memorial in London is a much larger occasion.

The government has warned the queue could stretch for up to 8km along the southern bank of the River Thames, winding past landmarks such as the giant London Eye Ferris wheel and a reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe theatre.

“You will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving,” the government said.


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