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Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin lying in state at Westminster: What to know

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Sep 15, 2022

The coffin of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is lying in state at Westminster Hall four days before her funeral next Monday.

Approximately 750,000 people are expected to flood the medieval building in the coming days, with waiting times lasting anywhere from 17 to 35 hours. This will be the British’s public last chance to give their final farewell to Her Majesty. 

Starting at 5 pm on Wednesday until 6:30 am on Monday, September 19th, lines of people will be able to see the queen’s coffin, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown lying on top of it. 

Moreover, the orb and scepter the queen used during her coronation in 1953 will be visible next to her coffin, which will sit on a raised platform surrounded by royal guards 24/7 in Westminster. 

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Previously, the coffin lied in state in Edinburgh, Scottland, south of where she had passed away at Balmore Castle last week. According to the Associated Press, the coffin itself is made of the same English oak as Churchill’s, Prince Philip’s, and Princess Diana’s coffins. 

Hundreds of toilets and water foundations have reportedly been installed near waiting lines that are expected to last one or two days. The earliest attendee, Vanessa Natahnkumaran, arrived 48 hours in advance so she could be the first in line. 

Westminister Hall is one of the oldest and most influential buildings in British history and is significant to the monarchy. Built in the year 1097, many of Britain’s kings and queens were coronated in its chapel, and Queen Elizabeth used the building to celebrate her silver, golden, and diamond jubilees. 

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Lying in state is an honor reserved for only the most revered members of British society, including the monarch, queen consorts, and some prime ministers such as Churchill. Many of the queen’s family members have lied in state at Westminster, such as King George VI and the Queen Mother.

The first monarch to set the modern tradition of using Westminster to lie in state was King Edward VII in 1910, according to the Associated Press. 

After the funeral concludes next week, the queen’s coffin will be interred in King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle next to the remains of her mother, father, and sister Princess Margaret. 

After the queen’s coffin is put to rest, Prince Philip will have his coffin removed from St. George’s Chapel’s Royal Vault to lay alongside his wife of 74 years. 

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