The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II
Monday, 19th September 2022
The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II was held at Westminster Abbey at 11:00am on Monday 19th September 2022.
Before the service, the Abbey’s tenor bell tolled once every minute for 96 minutes, reflecting the years of The Queen’s life.
The Queen's coffin was borne to the Abbey from the Palace of Westminster on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy. Accompanying the coffin were HM The King, Members of the Royal Family, and members of The King's Household.
The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who said in his Bidding:
‘In grief and also in profound thanksgiving we come to this House of God, to a place of prayer, to a church where remembrance and hope are sacred duties. Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service, and in sure confidence to commit her to the mercy of God our maker and redeemer.
With gratitude we remember her unswerving commitment to a high calling over so many years as Queen and Head of the Commonwealth. With admiration we recall her life-long sense of duty and dedication to her people. With thanksgiving we praise God for her constant example of Christian faith and devotion. With affection we recall her love for her family and her commitment to the causes she held dear.’
Settings of the Burial Sentences by William Croft and Henry Purcell, both former Organists of Westminster Abbey, were sung as the Procession of the Coffin moved through the Abbey.
The Sermon was preached by the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, who said:
‘Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: ‘We will meet again.’’
The Archbishop also led the Commendation.
The Right Honourable The Baroness Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, read from 1 Corinthians 15, including verse 55: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’
The Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP, read from John 14: 1 – 9: ‘In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’
Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Precentor, and said by representatives of the churches of the United Kingdom. The Dean pronounced the Blessing.
Among the music chosen for the State Funeral were the hymns The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended, arranged for the service by the Abbey’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, James O’Donnell; The Lord’s my shepherd, which was sung at the wedding of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1947; and Love divine, all loves excelling, in an arrangement first sung at the wedding of TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales in the Abbey in 2011.
Like as the hart, a setting of Psalm 42 by Master of the King’s Music, Judith Weir, was composed specially for the service, as was the anthem Who shall separate us?, drawing on words from Romans 8, by Sir James MacMillan.
The anthem was composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams for The Queen’s coronation in the Abbey in 1953.
The service was sung by the Choirs of Westminster Abbey and His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, directed by James O’Donnell. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist.
Last Post was sounded by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry before a two-minute silence, observed in the Abbey and throughout the United Kingdom.
The service came to a close with the singing of the National Anthem, before the Sovereign's Piper, WO1 (Pipe Major) Paul Burns played the traditional lament, Sleep, dearie, sleep.
The Abbey bells
After the funeral, the Westminster Abbey Company of Ringers began ringing a full peal of Stedman Caters, lasting more than three hours. The bells were rung fully-muffled – something which only happens upon the death of the monarch.
Following the State Funeral, Abbey’s bell ringers are ringing a full peal of Stedman Caters, lasting more than three hours.— Westminster Abbey (@wabbey) September 19, 2022
The bells are being rung fully-muffled – something which only happens upon the death of the monarch. pic.twitter.com/1JO7VKCcQV
The Royal Family were joined in the Abbey by a 2000-strong congregation including Heads of State and Overseas Government Representatives, including Foreign Royal Families, Governors General and Realm Prime Ministers.
Also in attendance were other representatives of the Realms and the Commonwealth, the Orders of Chivalry including recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross, Government, Parliament, the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies, the Church, and Her Majesty’s Patronages.
Almost 200 people who were recognised in The Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this year were also present, including those who made extraordinary contributions to the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and have volunteered in their local communities.
On The Queen's coffin was a wreath of flowers and foliage cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House. It included scented pelargoniums, garden roses, autumnal hydrangea, sedum, dahlias and scabious, all in shades of gold, pink and burgundy, as well as rosemary, myrtle and English oak foliage.
The flower arrangements in the Abbey included Asiatic lilies, gladioli, alstroemeria, eustoma and foliage of English oak, weeping birch and myrtle.
The Queen and the Abbey
The Queen had a long association with Westminster Abbey.
On 20 November 1947, she married The Duke of Edinburgh here and they celebrated anniversaries including their Silver, Golden and Diamond Wedding anniversaries with services in the Abbey.
Queen Elizabeth’s coronation took place on 2 June 1953 and at 12.34pm that day she was crowned in the Coronation Chair.
The Queen also celebrated the weddings of two of her children and one of her grandchildren at the church.
As Head of the Commonwealth for 70 years, The Queen attended many Commonwealth Day celebrations at the Abbey.
In March of this year, she attended a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of The Duke of Edinburgh, her husband of 73 years. This was the last time she visited the Abbey.
The Queen died on 8th September 2022. She reigned for a total of 70 years and 214 days, making her the longest-reigning monarch in British history.