On Monday, Queen Elizabeth II will become the first monarch since George II in 1760 to have her funeral at Westminster Abbey.
The service is set to take place at 11am, after which her coffin will be taken in a walking procession from the abbey to Wellington Arch, at London’s Hyde Park Corner, and be transported by hearse to Windsor Castle and her final resting place in St George’s Chapel.
The abbey has capacity for 2,000 mourners, but unless you are one of the heads of state, prime ministers, presidents, European royals or key figures from public life specifically invited, you will not be able to attend the service in person.
Thousands are expected to travel to London, particularly to the Mall, to say their final farewells during the funeral procession, but outside the capital, hundreds of thousands more are expected to gather to watch the Queen’s funeral in cathedrals, parks and other public venues across the UK.
More than 20 cathedrals – including Chester, Norwich, Manchester, Guildford and Winchester – are hosting events to show the service.
Big screens will be erected in towns and cities to broadcast the service at locations including Hull City Hall, Bradford Cathedral, Manchester’s Exchange Square, Millennium Square in Leeds, Lincoln Cathedral, Ripon Cathedral and the Cornhill in Ipswich.
In Birmingham, the ceremony will be shown on a large screen in Centenary Square. Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham city council, said: “Many people will want to go to London to observe this moment, but getting to the capital will be neither easy nor cheap, [so] the square will be a local, easy-to-reach, space where people can reflect.”
In Coventry, the council is putting up a screen in University Square. This week, it urged people wanting to attend to “dress appropriately for the weather and think of others and not bring golf umbrellas if it is raining to ensure views are not obscured”.
Meanwhile, Exeter council is showing the funeral on a big screen in Northernhay Gardens and at Exeter City football club. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, with doors opening at 9am. People are allowed to bring their dogs, but alcohol is banned.
Several cinema chains are showing the funeral, but no popcorn will be available. Vue has said most of its 91 venues were running screenings, but retail stands would be closed. However, guests will be offered complimentary bottled water during the broadcast.
Vue and Curzon have both said most of their venues have already reached capacity. Cinema chain Arc announced on Twitter: “This is a free event, but pre-booking your seat is essential. There will be no other shows taking place while the funeral is broadcast.”
Most pubs are expected to be open and showing the service. The Stonegate Group, Britain’s largest pub operator – running brands such as the Slug & Lettuce and Walkabout – has already confirmed that its venues will be showing the funeral, as has the brewer Fuller.
Wetherspoon’s said most of its pubs would be shut for the service, only opening at 1pm after the funeral has ended. The exception will be its pubs in railway stations and airports and venues in central London.