Queen’s funeral plans today: Queue to lying in state closes before Britain says farewell to monarch

Queue to pay respect to Queen’s coffin paused for six hours after reaching capacity

Britain will today say its final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II – the country’s monarch who ruled for 70 years.

The State Funeral is the first of its kind since that of Winston Churchill in 1965, and will take the form of an elaborate ceremony that will see Her Majesty’s coffin transported from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey and finally to Windsor Castle.

Hundreds of dignitaries are due to attend the service at the Abbey, with presidents, prime ministers among the 2,000-strong congregation.

Transport for London has said it expects upwards of one million people to line the route in London, as millions more watch the televised service around the world.

The queue for mourners to visit the late monarch’s coffin lying in state was closed at 10.45pm on Sunday. The hall will be closed to visitors still in the queue at 6.30am and will be transported to Westminster Abbey for the ceremony at 11am.

On Sunday night, it was confirmed by the order of service that the Queen’s great-grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will attend the historic event.

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Queen ‘meant so much to entertainment industry’

The chairman of the Royal Variety Charity said it was “always great” to see the face of every performer who met the Queen because she “meant so much to the entertainment industry”.

The annual Royal Variety Performance is held in aid of the charity, of which the Queen was patron, and at various venues around the UK.

Giles Cooper, chairman of the charity, told Huw Edwards on the BBC: “The Queen was very careful what she said because if you say something good about somebody then what about the others.

“She was very tactful, but it was great to always see the look of the face of every performer, whether it be legends from the past or new performers, she meant so much to the entertainment industry.”

Over the years, there have been many performances for members of the royal family, with many involving the Queen in the audience.

In 2009, pop star Lady Gaga wore a full-length red latex dress with a 20ft train to perform for the monarch.

The singer, known for her eccentricity, was also suspended 30ft into the air, as was the grand piano she played.

Speaking about the Queen meeting Gaga after the show held in Blackpool, Mr Cooper said: “A great year.

“The Queen would always like to visit the regions and so for many years we alternated going to a city outside of London – we went to Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh.

“That was a great day meeting Lady Gaga and it supported local theatre in a way that she was supporting the charity.

“How often would Lady Gaga or Bette Midler go to Blackpool, it was a great way of her showing support for the regions.”

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Queen’s funeral will be a beautiful day, says Master of the King’s Music

The Queen’s state funeral will be a day that highlights the “wonderful things that can happen in music”, the Master of the King’s Music has said.

Judith Weir served the late monarch as Master of the Queen’s music until her death, having become the first woman appointed to the position in 2014.

After Charles’s ascension to the throne, Ms Weir becomes Master of the King’s Music until her term ends in 2024.

She the Queen’s funeral will be an “important day” that will touch millions.

“It will be a beautiful day, we will see the most wonderful things that can happen in music,” she said.

“I think also an important moment for us to really realise that we will not be seeing the Queen again.

“She won’t pop up as she so often did, even in the last year doing some delightful things, cutting a cake at the WI or something. She has died, this is our reality moment.”

The composer and musician, 68, also spoke about the Queen’s delight for music.

She said: “In my experience, she was a person who had a lot of music in her life. She had had a very musical upbringing, piano lessons, used to sing amateur theatricals when she was young.

“But of course, in her mature life she was surrounded by music, she really admired those wonderful military bands.

“She was a committed church-goer and head of the English church, she went at least once a week and she and her husband really listened to that beautiful Anglican music and could really differentiate between it.

“I would say also, of course, she was a young person in the 40s and would have heard a lot of great show music of that time.

“I don’t remember her being assertive about pieces of music but she was very clear about good or bad performances, whether people had done well or not.

“I think that is why a good word from her was worth having.”

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One of the Queen’s oldest patronages to be represented at her funeral

The chairman of an equestrian society which had a lifelong association with the Queen has spoken of his pride at being invited to her funeral.

Daniel Morgan, 61, will represent the 6,000 members of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

“I am very proud. I’ve been chairman now for the second year and I never thought that this would be a stone on me,” said Mr Morgan, a farmer from Lampeter, Ceredigion.

“I am the fourth generation of my family to be breeding Welsh cobs – they really would be proud of me now.

“Our chief executive rang me last week saying that she had had an email from the Palace asking from the representative from the society to go to Her Majesty’s funeral.”

The Queen had a passion for horses and became patron of the society aged 18 in 1944.

It is said her love of the breed stemmed from Vardra Greylight, a grey Welsh mountain pony she received as a gift on her 13th birthday in 1939.

“She was gifted a Welsh pony section B when she was 13 and her grandson William had a section A when he was about six or seven,” Mr Morgan said.

“Dr Wynne Davies, who passed away last year, was the editor of our journal for years and the Queen always loved to have a copy of it when it was published.”

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Co-operation Ireland chief honoured to attend Queen’s funeral

The chief of an all-island peace charity has said that it is an honour to be invited to the Queen’s funeral, adding that it will be a “significant moment in history”.

Representatives of charities for which the Queen was patron will join the royal family and world leaders at the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning.

Among them is Co-operation Ireland, a charity dedicated to peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland.

Its chief executive Peter Sheridan told the PA news agency that the invitation is “a recognition of the Queen as our joint patron with the President of Ireland, and her significant contribution to Anglo-Irish relations, and peace and reconciliation between these islands”.

“I’m honoured that I’ve been invited to it on behalf of Co-operation Ireland.

“It’s a significant moment in history, but it’s also significant because I believe the Queen was part of building the modern-day British-Irish relations.

“I’m very pleased I’ll be there at it.”

He said that he agreed with comments given by Taoiseach Micheal Martin on Sunday, that “authentic actions” by the Queen “cemented” Anglo-Irish relations in the modern era.

“I think that’s absolutely right,” Mr Sheridan said, adding that her 2011 visit to Dublin was “laden with gestures of healing”.

“When you think of her state visit to Dublin, you could almost feel her growing on people right through.”

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‘You wouldn’t dare question Queen on horses’

The late monarch was never happier than when visiting her thoroughbreds at the royal stud or watching them race and Camilla commented on her “passion for racing”.

The Queen Consort said: “She was able to escape to Sandringham. She had the stud next door. She could go every day, see her foals, work out you know, the next meetings for the year. I think she always kept that as you know, her, her private bit.

“You wouldn’t dare question her or argue with her on how horse are bred or how it ran because you’d get a very steely blue-eyed look back again.”

The Queen died at Balmoral, her private Scottish estate, where she would relax and enjoy the Highland landscape and the company of the local residents who saw her as a neighbour and respected her privacy.

Camilla said: “She made a rule that she had her private time and her private passions and then her public role and I think that is very important that, you know, the diary is planned out so you know when you’re on duty and when you’ve got to do things.

“Then when she went up to Scotland in August, you know that was the moment where it was her enjoyment.

“Although she was probably working, you know with her red boxes throughout, she could have her family to stay, she could do the things she loved.”

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Camilla shares shoe mishap on wedding day that made Queen laugh

The Queen Consort has shared a personal memory of the Queen who saw the funny side of a shoe mishap on Camilla’s wedding day.

Speaking in a televised tribute to the late monarch, Camilla also described the Queen’s “wonderful blue eyes” but also how her gaze could be a little withering if you “dare question” her equestrian knowledge.

The Queen Consort, who had known the monarch for decades, said the Queen had a clear demarcation between her public duties and private life and her summer breaks at Balmoral in Scotland were a moment for “her enjoyment”.

Her tribute to her mother-in-law was aired on Sunday – the eve of the Queen’s state funeral – on the BBC, shortly before the national minute’s silence at 8pm.

Speaking about her wedding day on April 9 2005, the Queen Consort said: “I remember coming from here, Clarence House, (to) go to Windsor the day I got married when I probably wasn’t firing on all cylinders, quite nervous and, for some unknown reason, I put on a pair of shoes and one had an inch heel and one had a two-inch heel.

“So, I mean talk about hop-a-long and there’s nothing I could do. I was halfway down in the car before I realised and you know, she – she could see and laughed about it and said, ‘look I’m terribly sorry’ and she did, you know, she had a good sense of humour.”

The Queen and Camilla in 2014

(PA Wire)

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Striking photo shows Beefeaters taking a break from 20 minute shifts holding vigil in Westminster Hall

Royal guards standing vigil by Queen Elizabeth II coffin as it lies in state in Westminister Hall have been captured taking a break in between shifts.

Beefeaters, so the The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London are affectionately known, have been guarding the Queen’s coffin since it arrived in the ancient hall on Thursday.

Click here for the full story.

The Yeomen Warders take a break in between shifts standing guard over the deceased monarch

(Ministry of Defence (MoD))

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The Chinese delegation view the coffin of the Queen

A Chinese delegation has attended the Queen’s lying in state, following a suggestion that state officials would be barred from Westminster Hall.

The country’s representatives stood on the platform to observe the coffin on Sunday afternoon.

Neither the Foreign Office nor the UK Parliament were able to confirm the names of the attendees.

On Sunday, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle denied he had been “leant” on to allow a delegation access to the hall.

It had initially been expected that Chinese officials would be barred from Westminster while seven UK MPs and peers remain sanctioned by Beijing.

But the UK Parliament suggested on Saturday that representatives from the country would be able to attend the lying in state along with the rest of the dignitaries invited to the Queen’s funeral.

Sir Lindsay told BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show: “Nobody has been leaning on me at all. Far from it.

“My view remains the same, that we would not welcome (a) reception in Parliament. And that’s when I stopped the ambassador and accredited Chinese from coming into the House of Commons.

“So let’s be clear: to hold a reception in the House of Commons when MPs and a peer has been sanctioned is not acceptable. My view remains the same and nothing has changed.

“The sanction against those accredited officials remains in place and will remain so.”

The Chinese delegation view the coffin of the Queen (Joe Giddens/PA)

(PA Wire)

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Queen’s queue closes to new entrants as public urged not to try and join line

The queue to visit the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, resting on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, has finally been closed ahead of her State Funeral on Monday.

The Queen has been lying in state in London since Thursday evening, with huge queues of mourners snaking along the River Thames facing waits of 14 hours or more.

Click here for the full story.

(REUTERS)

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Scotland falls silent

Ninety-six lanterns, one for each year of the Queen’s life, have been illuminated in a service at a Scottish monument as mourners fell silent across the country to reflect on her reign.

The service at The Kelpies, between Falkirk and Grangemouth, took place in front of the Queen Elizabeth II Canal’s pool of reflection, and saw hundreds honour the memory of the monarch on the eve of her state funeral.

Led by the Very Rev Martin Fair, minister of St Andrew’s Parish Church and former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, lanterns and wreaths were placed in the pool and the crowds fell silent at 8pm with others across the country.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney was joined by other ministers on the steps in front of the Scottish Government headquarters at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, where they paid their respects.

He said: “In reflecting on Her Majesty’s life and legacy, many of us have considered her long and valued service to the nation and the respect and admiration she had for the people of Scotland.”

Mr Fair said hundreds attended the service at The Kelpies “out of a sense of wanting to do something – to be with others in a dignified way, coming together that we might pay our respects and acknowledge the remarkable service of our Queen”.

James McGrouther, 66, from Clydebank, said: “She, for 70 years, has been the adhesive that has held our country, to some extent, together.”

Roslyn Connell, 53, said the service was “lovely”, adding: “I was here because this lady has been the rock that held us all together for 70 years.”

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