BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Grand procession to honour Queen Mother
Procession rehearsal
A rehearsal of the procession took place on Thursday
The procession taking the Queen Mother's coffin to Westminster Hall will be a lavish event on a scale not witnessed in Britain for a generation.

The pomp and ceremony which will surround the event on Friday will be the greatest spectacle of its kind since the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

A large swathe of the capital will draw to a standstill as thousands of well-wishers are expected to line the streets to pay their last respects to the much loved Royal.

A total of 2,500 Metropolitan Police Officers have been drafted in for the event, which weather forecasters expected to take place in sunshine.

Coffin resting in St James's Palace
The coffin is currently resting at St James's Palace
The coffin will be horse-drawn through the capital on a gun carriage.

It will be draped in the Queen Mother's personal standard, and will bear a wreath from her daughter, the Queen.

The Queen Mother's crown will also rest on top of the coffin.

It was made for her at the time of the coronation of her husband King George VI in 1937, and will be a rare sight away from its usual home behind armoured glass at the Tower of London.

The Queen Mother's coffin will leave its current resting place in the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace at 1130 BST (1030 GMT) for its journey to Westminster Hall.

Guard of honour

Each minute of the 28-minute journey will be marked by the sound of blasts ringing out from 41 guns of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery firing in salute from Green Park.

Fourteen senior members of the Royal Family will walk behind the coffin.

Among them will be Princes William and Harry, and in a break with tradition, the Princess Royal.

Procession details
Nine mounted police officers to lead
Senior Royals will follow the coffin on foot
1,700 servicemen and women will take part
Procession will stretch for about half a mile

In total 1,700 service men and women will participate along the route, and military detachments, including cavalrymen from the Queen's Life Guards, will give royal salutes.

There will be a guard of honour in Parliament Square.

Soldiers have been practising drills all week, including a reverse arms salute not performed in Britain since Churchill's funeral.

The procession, which is expected to stretch for about half a mile, will be led by nine mounted police officers.

Behind them will come representatives of the Commonwealth armed forces.

Detachments of six officers and 300 servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Foot Guards and Royal Air Force will march with the coffin.

An eight-man bearer party from the Irish Guards will accompany the carriage, which is from the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

King George VI statue
The procession will pass by King George VI's statue
The 10 pallbearers are eight colonels from Army Regiments the Queen Mother was associated with, the commandant of the RAF flying school, and the commanding officer of HMS Ark Royal.

As well as the senior members of the Royal Family, the Queen Mother's personal staff and senior household members will follow the carriage.

Next will come service chiefs, followed by 13 units that had the Queen Mother as their colonel-in-chief or Royal honorary colonel will follow, represented by one officer and three soldiers.


The procession will pass along The Mall and past the statute of the Queen Mother's husband King George VI on the steps leading to Carlton Gardens.

The journey will take in many of the landmarks linked to numerous highlights of the Queen Mother's life.

The procession will travel along Marlborough Road, The Mall, Horse Guards Road, Horse Guards Parade, Horse Guards Arch, Whitehall, Parliament Square and New Palace Yard to Westminster Hall.

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family will await the coffin's arrival inside the Palace of Westminster, together with MPs and other VIPs.

It will be received by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, and the Dean of Westminster, Dr Wesley Carr.

It will then be placed in the exact spot where the Queen Mother's late husband lay in state 50 years before her.

Following prayers, the Queen Mother's body will lie in state until the funeral on Tuesday,

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories