Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral: Expect These 5 Things at Westminster Abbey

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will say goodbye to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch following her Sept. 8 death. Ahead, find out what to expect when the queen’s state funeral service at Westminster Abbey takes place on Sept. 19. 

1. Expect large crowds outside Westminster Abbey 

While just over 2,000 guests are expected to attend the queen’s funeral, it’s anticipated a sea of people will gather outside. Speaking to NPR, former U.K. national coordinator for counterterrorism, Nick Aldworth, likened it to Princess Diana’s 1997 funeral, saying it might be the closest predictor of what’s to come. 

Meanwhile, the line to see Queen Elizabeth lying in state temporarily closed on Sept. 16 when it reached capacity. Per Newsweek, the Department for Digital, Media, Culture, and Sport released a statement saying entry would be “paused” for a minimum of six hours. 

2. Expect guests to arrive at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral together

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton walk behind each other at a service in the days leading up to Queen Elizabeth's funeral at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, 2022
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton | Emilio Morenatti – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Heads of state, dignitaries, and notable figures are unlikely to arrive outside Westminster Abbey one-by-one. The U.K.’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, which is coordinating the queen’s funeral, reportedly issued specific instructions on the protocol.

Specifically advising dignitaries against using their own cars to get to the funeral. Rather, guests will be bussed in, in groups, from West London. The office has also reportedly asked foreign heads of state to fly commercial as the use of private helicopters during the ceremonies has been banned. 

3. Expect royals in mourning veils

Royals, such as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, are expected to wear mourning veils to the queen’s funeral. According to royal historian Jessica Storoschuk of An Historian About Town, it’s a long-time practice.

“The tradition of mourning veils dates back several centuries, and has a basis in monastic dress,” she told Page Six Style. Thought to be armor-like, veils “shield their grief from the public.” 

Storoschuk added mourning veils of today are “often shorter and made of transparent materials.” So expect to see the Princess of Wales and Duchess of Sussex in veils similar to what they wore to the queen’s lying in state service.

Additionally, expect to see lots of pearls, as a nod to the queen’s jewelry she often wore. 

4. Expect a two-minute nationwide silence at the end of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral 

King Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles look at tributes to Queen Elizabeth ahead of Queen Elizabeth's funeral on Sept. 19, 2022, at Westminster Abbey
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles | Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Silence at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will signal the service has nearly come to a close. According to CNN, palace officials revealed a two-minute nationwide silence will be held just before the service ends. 

It’s expected to take place around 11:55 a.m. local time, or just before 7 a.m. ET. 

5. Queen Elizabeth’s funeral is expected to end with the national anthem

Following the nationwide silence, Queen Elizabeth’s Piper will end the service by playing the national anthem at noon, 7 a.m. ET. They’re expected to also play a Reveille as well as a Lament.

Queen Elizabeth’s lead-lined coffin will then travel to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle,  the monarch’s final resting place

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