THE state funeral for the Queen will take place at Westminster Abbey a week on Monday — as the nation falls silent to remember her extraordinary life of service.
Full details were expected to be revealed later today after King Charles meets with Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, to approve the carefully choreographed farewell.
But it is widely expected that the Queen's coffin will be carried upon a gun carriage pulled through the streets of London by naval ratings using ropes rather than horses.
The same tribute was paid to her father, King George VI, whose coffin was hauled by the Royal Navy after his sudden death in 1952 saw her propelled to the throne.
Senior members of the Royal Family will fall in behind her coffin and walk silently, in the same way they did for the funerals of Diana and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The military will line the streets and also join the procession.
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Heads of state, prime ministers and presidents, European royals and key figures from public life will be invited to gather in Westminster Abbey to mark her glorious 70-year reign.
Up to 2,000 dignitaries are expected to attend, with tens of millions of viewers watching the service all over the world on television.
It is likely to be the biggest security operation the UK has ever seen — with thousands set to line the ceremonial route for days to pay their respects ahead of the funeral.
Former counter-terror chief Nick Aldworth said police and security services are expecting huge crowds of mourners.
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Mr Aldworth said: “It’s probably the biggest operation that we're likely to mount in the UK.”
Gun cops and rooftop snipers will be in place while the cortege is moving amid fears of potential terror attacks targeting large crowds.
Police and security services will oversee the plans from a central operations room in Lambeth in South London.
A senior police officer, known as a gold commander, will head up the operation. The coffin will be transported to St George’s Chapel at Windsor after the funeral for a televised committal service.
Later that night, senior members of the Royal Family will gather for a private interment service before the Queen is laid to rest in the King George VI memorial chapel.
She will be placed alongside her mother and father and the ashes of her sister Princess Margaret, who died in 2002.
In another poignant tribute, the coffin of her beloved late husband, Prince Philip, will be moved from the Royal Vault to join her.
Her funeral has been the subject of quiet and respectful planning for decades and will be carried out with military precision to the exact minute.
A large team of royal courtiers and senior advisers have been called upon at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House in the wake of her death to set the plans in motion.
They are vastly experienced and have worked for or with the royal household for decades.
But none of them will have served during such a momentous occasion as the death of a British monarch — and the start of a new reign.
The Earl Marshal will take charge of the preparations for the funeral and later, King Charles III’s coronation. The current Earl Marshal is the 18th Duke of Norfolk, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, who inherited the position upon the death of his father in 2002.
The Queen's private secretary, Sir Edward Young, who worked for the monarch for more than 18 years, will also play a key role in the coming days.
He will be guiding Charles on matters of state and constitutional issues, and working closely with the Government in the run-up to the funeral to ensure the monarchy continues to function smoothly.
King Charles’s principal private secretary, Sir Clive Alderton, will work closely with Sir Edward to prepare Charles for life as the monarch. The Lord Chamberlain, Baron Parker of Minsmere, will also play a hugely symbolic and little-known role during the funeral.
The former MI5 spy chief is the most senior official of the Royal Household.
On ceremonial occasions, the Lord Chamberlain carries a white staff and a gold key, the symbols of his office.
Tradition dictates that the Lord Chamberlain must now break his white staff over the Queen’s grave — a symbolic gesture marking the death of the sovereign he serves.
Angela Kelly, the Queen’s senior dresser and personal adviser, is likely to be in charge of selecting the monarch’s funeral gown or robes. She oversees the teams of seamstresses who may also be called upon to help prepare the Royal Family’s mourning clothes and funeral attire.
The last full state funeral in the UK was for war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.
Ceremonial royal funerals, similar to state funerals, are held for members of the Royal Family who hold high military rank, for the consort of the sovereign and the heir to the throne.
The Duke of Edinburgh was given a ceremonial royal funeral last April, as was the Queen Mother in 2002.
Diana, Princess of Wales, was also given a form of ceremonial royal funeral in 1997, despite no longer being an HRH.
Baroness Thatcher’s funeral in April 2013 was a ceremonial funeral with full military honours, with her coffin taken in procession to St Paul’s Cathedral on a gun carriage drawn by six black horses.
Former PM Benjamin Disraeli was reportedly offered a state funeral, but declined it in his will.
The Duke of Windsor, who abdicated as Edward VIII, was given a private royal funeral in 1972, although the Garter King of Arms proclaimed words during the service usually reserved for a state funeral and declared him “sometime the most high, most mighty and most excellent monarch Edward VIII”.
He was the only sovereign not to have a royal state funeral since 1727, when George I died and was buried abroad.
The last watch of the military vigil will begin at 6am on the morning of the Queen’s funeral, as the nation prepares to bid the fondest of farewells.
A Bank Holiday is expected to be announced by PM Liz Truss to allow the country to draw together in mourning. Cities up and down the land will televise the occasion on giant screens as the nation comes to a standstill.
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