Monday is set to be packed with funeral events for the late Queen Elizabeth in London and Windsor as hundreds of thousands of mourners ready to say their final goodbye.
Britain and the world are laying Queen Elizabeth II to rest at a state funeral that will draw presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers as well as up to a million people lining the streets of London to say a final goodbye to a monarch whose 70-year reign defined an age.
Monday will be packed with funeral events in London and Windsor beginning early after the doors of 900-year-old Westminster Hall were closed to hundreds of thousands of mourners who had filed in front of the queen's coffin since September 14.
Many of the mourners had spent cold nights outdoors to pay their respects at the foot of the queen’s flag-draped coffin in a moving outpouring of national grief.
The closing of the hall marked the end of four full days of the coffin lying in state and the start of the UK’s first state funeral since the one held in 1965 for Winston Churchill, the first of 15 prime ministers during Elizabeth's reign.
Monday has been declared a public holiday in honour of Elizabeth, who died on September 8 at 96. Her funeral will be broadcast live to over 200 countries and territories worldwide and screened to crowds in parks and public spaces across the UK.
Police officers from around the country will be on duty as part of the biggest one-day policing operation in London’s history.
The king's message
On the evening before the funeral, King Charles III issued a message of thanks to people in the UK and around the world, saying he and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, have been “moved beyond measure” by the large numbers of people who have turned out to pay their respects to the queen.
“As we all prepare to say our last farewell, I wanted simply to take this opportunity to say thank you to all those countless people who have been such a support and comfort to my family and myself in this time of grief,” he said.
For the funeral, Elizabeth's coffin will be taken from Westminster Hall, across the road to Westminster Abbey, on a royal gun carriage drawn by 142 Royal Navy sailors. The same carriage was used to carry the coffins of late Kings Edward VII, George V and George VI and of Churchill.
The service, attended by 2,000 people ranging from world leaders to health care workers and volunteers, will end with two minutes of silence followed by the national anthem and a piper’s lament, before the queen’s coffin is taken in a procession ringed by units of the armed forces in dress uniforms, with the queen's children walking behind, to Wellington Arch near Buckingham Palace.
There, it will be placed in a hearse to be driven to Windsor for another procession along the Long Walk, a five-kilometre avenue leading to the town’s castle, before a committal service in St. George’s Chapel. She will then be laid to rest with her late husband, Prince Philip, at a private family service.