Prince William and Prince Harry will set aside their feud and support their father King Charles III by marching with him behind the Queen’s coffin as it leaves Buckingham Palace for the final time today.
Her Majesty has spent her final night in the Bow Room of her London home before she is conveyed on a gun carriage to Westminster Hall – the ancient heart of Parliament – where she will lie in state for four days until her funeral on Monday.
More than 1million people are expected to queue in central London for up to 35 hours to walk past her casket – but experts believe only 400,000 will make it inside meaning 600,000 people will be left disappointed.
The Queen arrived at Buckingham Palace last night to tears and cheers from the huge crowds who stood in the pouring rain to welcome her home after her death at Balmoral last Thursday. The route from RAF Northolt to the palace was packed. There was a wave of lights as many raised their mobile phones in the air to film the hearse as it passed.
At 2.22pm exactly this afternoon, the Queen’s coffin will be placed on a gun carriage and lead a procession down a packed Mall, along Whitehall and then into Parliament Square before entering the Palace of Westminster followed by her son, the new King, and her children and grandchildren.
The near 1,000-year-old Westminster Hall is where her father King George VI would lie in state in 1952 and where the public could pass the coffin of her mother, the Queen Mother, in 2002. Her Majesty’s closed coffin will be placed on a catafalque – a raised platform, covered in the Royal Standard with the orb and sceptre placed on top.
Charles, William and Harry – along with the Duke of York, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex – will follow the coffin on foot as it makes its 38-minute journey in front of thousands of mourners lining the streets in central London.
For William and Harry it will bring back painful memories of when they, aged 15 and 12, walked behind the coffin of their mother Princess Diana in 1997.
Anne’s son Peter Phillips and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will also walk in the procession, as well as the Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Snowdon.
The Queen Consort, the Princess of Wales, the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Sussex will travel by car.
The procession will leave Buckingham Palace at 2.22pm borne by gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. The route will take the coffin through the Queen’s Gardens, The Mall, Horse Guards Parade and Horse Guards Arch, Whitehall, Parliament Street, Parliament Square and New Palace Yard.
Elizabeth II made her final journey home to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday after her coffin travelled across the country from Balmoral. Charles and the Royal Family can be seen through a glass window waiting to meet the coffin
William and Harry will walk behind the Queen’s coffin tomorrow, similar to the funeral of their mother Princess Diana when they were children in 1997
Thousands crowded the streets as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrived in the Royal Hearse at Buckingham Palace
The Queen will be moved to the Palace of Westminster where she will lie in state. Pictured: Pallbearers from the Queen’s Colour Squadron (63 Squadron RAF Regiment) carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II to the Royal Hearse having removed it from the C-17 at RAF Northolt
William and Harry reunited in mourning for their grandmother this week and met well-wishers outside Windsor Castle
The brothers were joined by wives Catherine and Meghan as the ‘Fab Four’ greeted the public on Saturday September 10
The two brothers, along with their wives, visited grieving fans outside of Windsor Castle on Saturday
The Queen is staying in Buckingham Palace’s Bow Room on Tuesday night, watched closely by a rota of former chaplains, before being moved to allow hundreds of thousands of well-wishers to pay their respects.
Prayers and a service reserved for close family members took place shortly after the coffin arrived last night, with the King, Camilla, William and Kate and Harry and Meghan all in attendance.
Princess Anne, who has travelled with her mother’s coffin from Balmoral to Edinburgh, and from the Scottish capital back to London, was also present with husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.
Peter Phillips, his sister Zara, Mike Tindall, the Duke of York and daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, along with their husbands Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Jack Brooksbank – were also among those gathered.
But Sarah Ferguson, ex-wife of Prince Andrew and who still lives with the duke, did not receive an invite because of their divorce.
Today King Charles and senior royals on foot will be followed by senior staff from both the Queen’s and King’s Households, then by close personal staff.
The procession will walk in silence without music, while guards of honour from all three services will be formed along the route.
The King’s Life Guard will give a royal salute as the coffin passes through Horse Guards Arch.
Outside Buckingham Palace the King’s Guard will welcome the coffin.
Meanwhile, throughout the procession, minute guns will be fired at Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Artillery and Big Ben will toll.
At 3pm, the coffin will arrive at the North Door of Westminster Hall, before being carried to the catafalque inside by a bearer party from the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will then conduct a service of around 20 minutes before Westminster Hall opens to the public at 5pm.
Well-wishers will begin filing past the coffin to mark the start of four-and-half days of the Queen lying in state.
A round-the-clock vigil will be mounted under the catafalque by officers of the Household Division, the King’s Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, the King’s Body Guard for Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers and the King’s Body Guard the Yeomen of the Guard.
It will remain open 24 hours a day until at 6.30am on Monday.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to line the streets to pay their respects to the Queen.
The queue is expected to stretch for five miles, taking up to 30 hours to reach the front.
Once people have passed through Albert Embankment, they will be directed across Lambeth Bridge, into Victoria Tower Gardens
Extra welfare facilities, including toilets and water fountains, have been placed sporadically along the route.
William and Harry will join the procession alongside other members of the Royal Family after the brothers reunited with Catherine and Meghan outside Windsor Castle on Saturday.
Arriving in the same car, the ‘Fab Four’ spent 40 minutes meeting mourners outside the castle, where hundreds of flowers have been laid by the public.
It was the first time the brothers had been seen together since a service for the Platinum Jubilee in June when they sat far apart from each other.
It is also the first time Harry and Meghan have been a part of Royal Family event since stepping back from royal duties and moving to the United States in early 2020.
King Charles wished the couple well in his first address as monarch on Friday evening, after naming William and Catherine the Prince and Princess of Wales.
The King said: ‘I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.’
The state hearse carries the Queen’s coffin through the gates of the palace as the crowd erupted in cheers and applause
The Queen’s coffin arriving at Buckingham Palace as thousands of mourners applauded the late monarch
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth arrives at Buckingham Palace
The state hearse carried the Queen’s coffin into Buckingham Palace, where it will be received by the whole Royal Family
The Queen’s coffin arrived at RAF Northolt in west London
The Queen’s Colour Squadron carrying Her Majesty the Queen’s coffin off the plane at RAF Northolt
Ahead of the procession, the King addressed Parliament in Westminster for the first time as monarch.
Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords each led an address to the new King, who delivered a speech in reply.
Charles thanked Parliament and said he was moved by the tributes to his mother – who ‘set an example of selfless duty’ that he said he would faithfully follow.
Mourners have already started queueing to see the Queen lie in state at Westminster Hall, with arrangements made for the line to reach all the way from the hall to Bermondsey in south London.
The Queen will remain in Westminster until the funeral on Monday – expected to be the biggest security operation in Britain’s history as heads of state from all over the world attend.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry travelled to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday to join the entire Royal Family – including King Charles III, the Queen Consort and the Prince and Princess of Wales – as they received the Queen’s coffin
The ceremony at Parliament dates back centuries but was never been seen publicly until Monday
Charles said he was moved by the tributes to his mother – who he said ‘set an example of selfless duty’ that he said he would faithfully follow
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla stand for the national anthem at the ceremony in Westminster Hall