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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Queen Mother's Funeral: your questions
We put your questions to Royal writer Charles Jacoby in a live forum.

  Click here to watch the forum.  


The Queen Mother's coffin has arrived at St James's Palace in London after a solemn journey from Windsor.

A crowd of more than 1,000 onlookers stood by as six pall bearers carried it into the Queen's Chapel at the palace.

On Friday the coffin will be moved to Westminster Hall on a gun carriage drawn by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

There, the Queen Mother will lie in state until her funeral service on Tuesday.

The funeral is currently planned to be a Royal ceremonial funeral, with protocol dictating that state funerals are reserved for heads of state.

But Parliament and the prime minister could still award the accolade to the Queen Mother.

What preparations are being made for the funeral service? What are the constitutional issues? How can you pay your respects?


Highlights of the interview


Newshost:

Kate Hancock, UK: Is it true that there will be a national holiday for the Queen Mother's funeral next Tuesday? I would like to go and pay my respects and watch the procession.


Charles Jacoby:

As far as we know, no - not as such. But the Palace and Tony Blair have asked head teachers, for example, to allow children either a half holiday or the chance to watch the ceremony on television.

It's really going to come down to individual employers whether they let their staff go. I imagine those who take a hard line will of course lose a lot of staff through sick days next Tuesday. It is going to be a very emotional event and this of course is tied up in whether it's going to be a state funeral or not as well.


Newshost:

If it was a state funeral would it be a Bank Holiday of some sort?


Charles Jacoby:

As far as we know, yes. The thing about Royal funerals is that they are, despite the planning that goes into them, made up as they go along to fit the mood of the nation. But as far as we know, it is not going to be a state funeral next Tuesday and therefore the Government and the Palace have got out of doing a compulsory Bank Holiday.


Newshost:

Nicky, England: The Queen Mother was a wonderful person. All she was, all she still is and all that she ever will be will remain in the hearts of Britons and many others for years to come. It therefore saddens me that no supermarket chain, shop, company etc. has decided to close on the day of the Queen Mother's funeral given the fact we are country with a strong Royal Family and the Queen Mother was such a loved and respected person. A full national day of mourning should be declared out of respect for this much loved lady and grandmother to the nation.


Charles Jacoby:

That's not quite true - the poor supermarkets have only come back from the Easter break on Tuesday and there's been a lot of dashing around at board level. I can tell you, for example, that Waitrose will be having a half-day next Tuesday - Waitrose stores won't open until 2 o'clock according to information this morning. So we'll see what the other chains do.


Newshost:

Elaine Rose, UK: Who decides whether there will be a national day of mourning?


Charles Jacoby:

I think it is the Government and the Palace and of course, in this case, it's the Queen Mother's own wishes which she left behind.


Newshost:

Julia Hammond, England: I would like to come to London on Friday. What time is the coffin is going to be moving to Westminster Hall?


Charles Jacoby:

It is going to be moving in time to get Westminster Hall - which will be open from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock on Friday and then from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. So there'll be a good chance for people to queue outside the House of Parliament and go in and file past the coffin.


Newshost:

So it's going to be moving in the morning on Friday - so she needs to get down here early in the morning, presumably because there's going to be lots of crowds.


Charles Jacoby:

Yes that's right.


Newshost:

John Blackman, England: Why is it not a state funeral - especially as the Queen Mother was once the Queen?


Charles Jacoby:

She was the Queen but she was actually Queen Consort - she was an empress as well. But it's only the Queen, only the King that gets a state funeral except in special circumstances - Winston Churchill, of course, had a state funeral. The last wishes of the Queen Mother were to stick to protocol in this case and as far as I can see that's exactly what they're doing.


Newshost:

Sarah Landor, England: What time is the funeral due to commence on Tuesday?


Charles Jacoby:

It is going to be half-past eleven. The coffin will leave Westminster Hall and go into Westminster Abbey through the Poets' Corner door. The funeral service will take place, the coffin will be taken by car with just the Prince of Wales and the Earl of Strathmore - the Queen Mother's great nephew - just the two of them will go to Windsor. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family will go back to Buckingham Palace. The procession is due to arrive at Windsor - King Henry VIII Gate - at 6 o'clock on the Tuesday and she will be buried directly afterwards next to her husband in the St. George's Chapel.


Newshost:

Nigel Anders, USA: Where can people watch the funeral on their television if they're not in Britain?

I can answer that one. BBC World will be covering it from 10.30 in the morning until 1.30 p.m. British Time.


Newshost:

Matt Ward, UK: How long is the funeral schedule due to last?


Charles Jacoby:

From 11.30 Tuesday morning until shortly after 6 o'clock in the evening.


Newshost:

Penny Mercer, UK: Can you tell me the route the Queen Mother's coffin will be taking back to Windsor on Tuesday after the funeral?


Charles Jacoby:

It is a road route. Her husband went by train from Paddington. In the state funeral of Winston Churchill, he went by barge famously from Tower Pier to Festival Pier. The Queen Mother's coffin will be taken by road - down the Brompton Road onto the Talgarth Road and not along the M4 but along the Great West Road to Windsor.


Newshost:

Is that because motorways are perceived to undignified?


Charles Jacoby:

Not necessarily. Princess Diana's coffin famously came down a motorway and people blocked it with flowers thrown from bridges en route. No, this just seems to be the most effective route.


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See also:

02 Apr 02 | UK
01 Apr 02 | UK
02 Apr 02 | Talking Point
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