Here is the view from Whitehall this morning, from Archie Bland, Editor of the Guardian’s First Edition newsletter.
The queen’s lying in state is now over. The last people who queued to see her coffin passed through early this morning. At 6.29am, Black Rod, a senior officer in the House of Lords, bowed once to the coffin and walked to the end of Westminster Hall.
The government announced the queue had been closed just after 10.30pm last night. An estimated 300,000 people have queued to pay their respects, with the wait time reaching an estimated 17 hours.
Later this morning, the Queen’s coffin will be carried on the state funeral gun carriage from Westminster Hall to the Westminster Abbey, towed by 142 sailors from the Royal Navy.
Carol Ann Duffy, the former poet laureate – who was appointed by the Queen in 2009 – has written a poem entitled Daughter, shared exclusively here, to mark the monarch’s death:
Further up Whitehall, Christina Burrows is sitting against a bollard. She met the Queen once in her thirties, at a charity event in 1992, but “I’ve always seen her as a beacon,” she says. “During lockdown, when she said ‘We’ll meet again’, that was wonderful. It gave me a lot of hope. So I wanted to be here for her like she was for us.” She sighs and claps her hands to her cheeks. “I don’t know how I’ll feel when she goes past,” she says. “Oh god, I can’t believe it. There’ll never be another day like this in our lives.”
Food confiscated from people waiting in the queue for the Queen’s lying in state is being donated to charity, reports PA Media:
People are not allowed to take food or drink inside the Palace of Westminster and any such items will be confiscated.
Charity the Felix Project said it expects to collect over 2 tonnes of food, mostly snacks including crisps, chocolate and biscuits, and is also accepting unwanted blankets.
With people waiting up to 24 hours to complete the five-mile walk from Southwark Park to Westminster Hall to pay their respects to the Queen, they are coming with plenty of food to keep them going.
When they get to Victoria Tower Gardens the food is confiscated before entry to the parliamentary estate is allowed and instead of being thrown away, all non-perishable and unopened packages are saved.
The Felix Project will distribute the items to the thousands of community groups it works with across the capital.
Charity chief executive Charlotte Hill said: “We are honoured to be here to play a small part in this hugely poignant event and to know that an extra layer of good is being done here.
The Transport for London commissioner, Andy Byford, said that today will be “probably one of the busiest days” the service has ever faced:
It’s hard to say exactly how many additional people [will travel], but we’re preparing for potentially a million people just within the footprint of the royal palaces and Hyde Park …
Yesterday, figures from Trainline showed that demand for services into London for today was 56% above the level recorded for the same day the previous week. Train companies including LNER and East Midlands Railway have warned that services into London will be very busy.
Robert Madeley and Christopher Clowes arrived at 4am from “just up in Regents Park” and Leicestershire, and they’re in full morning dress with a box of flapjacks – “it’s what she would have wanted,” Clowes says.
Perhaps confused by their outfits, police have already ushered them through to a restricted area before realising their mistake.
“The difficulty is you always think there might be a better view 100 metres away,” says Madeley. “But I’m happy with our spot.”
About 1 million people are expected to visit central London today. As you cross the city towards Westminster Abbey, the ordinary 5am sight of people going to work or coming home from a bank holiday night out begins to give way to bored looking stewards in tabards, crowd control signs, and middle aged couples with folding chairs and sandwiches.
There are veterans with a chestful of badges, tourists with selfie sticks huddled under foil sheets, a dog in a bow tie, a woman in a black fascinator, and a queue for the loo at Westminster Station that’s snaking up and out to the street by 430am.
“I’ve been asleep for two hours,” says William Sidhu, gesturing to the phone box from which he has just emerged on Parliament Square. “I think I’ve lost my place.”
The death of the Queen has thrown up a smorgasbord of strange traditions and ceremonies that have not been heard of or seen since the death of the last reigning monarch, her father George VI in 1952.
Among the more unusual protocols will be featured in the committal service being held at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 4pm on Monday, after the Queen’s coffin is driven there when the actual funeral service at Westminster Abbey ends.
This involves the official “crown jeweller” removing the imperial crown from the coffin to symbolically separate the Queen from her crown. It also features the lord chamberlain, Baron Parker, former head of MI5, breaking his “wand of office” and placing it on the coffin signifiying the end of his service to the Queen.
PA Media reports:
During the committal service, which will be conducted by dean of Windsor, David Conner, the Imperial State Crown, the orb and the sceptre will be lifted from the Queen’s coffin by the Crown Jeweller, separating the Queen from her crown for the final time, PA Media reports.
With the help of the Bargemaster and a Serjeant of Arms, the Crown Jewels will be passed to the dean who will place them on the High Altar.
At the end of the last hymn, the King will step forward and place the Grenadier Guards’ Queen’s Company Camp Colour – a smaller version of the Royal Standard of the Regiment – on the coffin.
The Grenadier Guards are the most senior of the Foot Guards regiments and the Queen was their Colonel in Chief.
Only one Royal Standard of the Regiment is presented during a monarch’s reign, and it served as the Queen’s Company Colour throughout her lifetime.
At the same time, former MI5 spy chief Baron Parker – the Lord Chamberlain and the most senior official in the late Queen’s royal household – will “break” his Wand of Office and place it on the coffin.
The ceremonial breaking of the white staff signifies the end of his service to the Queen as sovereign.
As the coffin is lowered into the royal vault, the dean will say a psalm and the commendation before the Garter King of Arms pronounces the many styles and titles of the Queen.
A woman and her younger female companion became the last to join the lineup to see the Queen lying in state when a steward handed her a wristband.
“You are the last person in the queue,” he told her, according to footage shown on Sky News on Sunday night.
The woman said “Bless you” and received a round of applause from stewards and other people waiting as she filed through the cordon to take her place.
Her relief was mirrired by groans from those just behind her who were turned away.
“I’m absolutely gutted,” said one disappointed mourner.
With the queue to see the Queen’s coffin lying in state now closed, the last mourners will file through Westminster Hall in just under two hours from now.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said after 10.30pm on Sunday night that the last people had been admitted to the queue.
“The queue to attend Her Majesty The Queen’s Lying-in-State is at final capacity and is now closed to new entrants,” the department said.
“Please do not attempt to join the queue. Stewards will manage those already nearby.
Thank you for your understanding.”
Here is a guide to today’s events. All times are BST.
6.30am – The Queen’s lying-in-state will end
The lying-in-state, in which the Queen’s closed coffin has been on view to the public at Westminster Hall since Wednesday, will come to an end.
8am – Westminster Abbey opens
Westminster Abbey will open to the congregation attending the Queen’s funeral. The funeral, which will be one of the largest gathering of heads of states and royalty the UK has hosted in decades, will include European royal families and world leaders.
10.30am – Queen’s coffin carried to the Abbey
The coffin will be carried by the gun carriage from Westminster Hall to the Abbey, being towed by 142 sailors from the Royal Navy. King Charles III, joined by royal family members as well as members of the royal household, will follow the coffin.
10.52am – Procession arrives at Westminster Abbey
The procession will arrive at the West Gate of Westminster Abbey, and the bearer party, which is made up by members of the Queen’s guard, will carry the coffin from the gun carriage.
11am – Service begins
The service, which will be led by the dean of Westminster, Dr David Hoyle, will begin. The sermon will be delivered by the archbishop of Canterbury.
11.55am The last post
The last post will be played, and will be followed by a two-minute silence.
Noon – State funeral service ends
The national anthem will be played, bringing the state funeral service to a close. The coffin will then be carried to the state gun carriage.
12:15pm – Coffin procession to Wellington Arch
The procession, led by the King, will be made up of several groups, with each accompanied by a service band. These groups include representatives from the NHS, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as detachments from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth. Guns will be fired every minute in Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, while Big Ben will toll every minute as the procession makes its way through the streets.
1pm – Coffin placed in the state hearse
The procession will arrive at Wellington Arch, and the bearer party will transfer the coffin to the hearse before the car leaves for Windsor. There will also be a royal salute, and the national anthem will be played.
3.06pm – Arrival at Windsor
The hearse will arrive in Windsor and join a procession up Long Walk to Windsor Castle. It will be joined by the King and members of the royal family before moving to St George’s Chapel for the committal service.
4pm – Committal service begins
The committal service begins in St George’s Chapel attended by around 800 people, including the King, the royal family, Commonwealth leaders, governors-general and mourners from the Queen’s household past and present, including personal staff from across her private estates. It will be conducted by the dean of Windsor with a blessing by the archbishop of Canterbury. The Queen’s coffin will then be lowered into the royal vault.
7.30pm – Private burial service
A private service conducted by the Dean of Windsor, attended just by the King and the royal family. The Queen’s coffin will be laid to rest at St George’s chapel, alongside Prince Phillip and her parents, King George VI and the Queen Mother.
After 10 days of official mourning, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II takes place in London today.
It will be a day of ceremony and tradition – as well as one of the largest gatherings of heads of state and other world leaders witnessed in years.
The last of those queueing to see the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall will pass by the catafalque at 6.30am BST. That will bring to an end days that saw queues of up to 5 miles (8km) winding along the Thames as members of the public came to pay their respects.
This live blog will cover all the events of the day. Here is how some other Guardian readers are planning to spend it:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/live/2022/sep/19/queen-elizabeth-ii-state-funeral-westminster-abbey-updates Queen’s funeral: state procession will see Elizabeth II remembered in Westminster Abbey service – latest updates | Queen Elizabeth II