Explained: Queen's state funeral will be UK's first since Winston Churchill

Published on Sep 10, 2022 11:00 AM IST

Queen Elizabeth II Funeral: Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, died on Thursday after reigning for 70 years. She was 96.

Queen Elizabeth II Funeral: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.(AP File)
Queen Elizabeth II Funeral: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.(AP File)

Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral will be UK's first in over half a century as former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was the last head of state to be accorded with this honour in 1965.

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, died on Thursday after reigning for 70 years. She was 96.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, had a royal ceremonial funeral.

What is a state funeral?

The state funeral, which is usually reserved for the sovereign, begins with the body being carried on a gun carriage, which is drawn by sailors from the Royal Navy, as part of a military procession.

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The body is then taken from a private resting chapel to Westminster Hall in the House of Parliament. Then, another procession is taken to the Westminster Abbey or St Paul's Cathedral, depending on where the service is, a report in the Independent said. Heads of state are then given a 21-gun salute.

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When was the last state funeral in the UK?

The last state funeral in the UK was Winston Churchill's in 1965 while the last state funeral for a sovereign was for the Queen's father, George VI, in 1952.

Sir Winston Churchill died on 24 January 1965, aged 90. The official period of funeral lasted for four days. By the decree of Queen Elizabeth II, his body lay in state at Westminster Hall for three days from 26 January and on 30 January, the order of funeral was held at St Paul's Cathedral.

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The funeral was attended by representatives from 120 countries, 6,000 people, and unusually by the Queen. It was witnessed by over 350 million people and is said to be the largest state funeral in history.

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