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What’s a state funeral? Will shops close? And other questions

Flowers and tributes to Queen Elizabeth II are pictured outside of Windsor Castle on 9 September 2022Image source, Reuters

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has had a major impact on daily life.

The government has said a period of national mourning will last until the end of the day of the Queen’s state funeral.

When is the Queen’s funeral?

It will be held at Westminster Abbey – the historic church where Britain’s kings and queens are crowned.

What is a state funeral?

In rare cases, a state funeral can also be held for “other exceptionally distinguished persons”. People other than monarchs who have been given a state funeral include Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Lord Palmerston.

Ceremonial funerals share many of the elements of state funerals. These were held for Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997 and the Queen Mother in 2002. Baroness Thatcher had a ceremonial funeral with full military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2013.

Who will attend the funeral?

No guest list has been published yet. However, leaders and royals from around the world are expected to join members of the UK Royal Family.

So far, the White House has said US President Joe Biden will attend and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also said she will travel to the UK.

What does lying-in-state mean?

For 24 hours from Monday afternoon, the Queen will lie at rest in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. Members of the public will be able to pay their respects.

The lying-in-state begins at 17:00 BST on Wednesday at Westminster Hall in London. It will last until 06:30 on Monday 19 September – the day of the Queen’s funeral. It will be open 24 hours a day between those times.

It is expected that hundreds of thousands of mourners will be able to file past, to pay their respects. Those wishing to attend should expect to queue for many hours – with little opportunity to sit down, as the queue will be continuously moving.

What is a vigil?

Watching over a coffin is sometimes called a vigil.

On Monday evening, King Charles is expected to hold a vigil with other members of the Royal Family.

During the Queen’s lying-in-state in Westminster Hall, each corner of the platform on which her coffin rests will be guarded around the clock by a vigil of soldiers. They will be from units from the Sovereign’s Bodyguard, the Household Division, or Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London.

Where will the Queen be buried?

The final journey of the Queen’s coffin will be to St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle.

It will be lowered into the Royal Vault, and interred in the King George VI memorial chapel.

Prince Philip, who died last year, was also laid to rest at St George’s Chapel, as were the Queen’s parents and her sister Princess Margaret.

Will there be a bank holiday?

Yes. One of King Charles III’s first acts as monarch was to approve a national bank holiday, on the day of the Queen’s state funeral.

Will schools, shops and businesses be closed?

Schools have been told that they are not expected to be open on the day of the funeral, the Department of Education (DfE) says.

Most businesses and many shops will close as well, as is the case with other bank holidays.

However, the right to a bank holiday day off is not automatic and some workplaces will be open. The government says it encourages “employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take time off”.

Image source, Getty Images

Will there be more bank holidays?

A decision about whether the day of the King’s Coronation will be a bank holiday will be made nearer the time of the event. A date has not yet been announced.

The government says there are currently no plans to make the day of the Queen’s funeral an annual bank holiday.

Will events be cancelled?

The government says there is no obligation to cancel or postpone events during the period of national mourning, or to close entertainment venues.

However, government guidance says if sporting fixture or events are planned for the day of the funeral, organisations may want to adjust the timings.

What are your memories of the Queen? Share your tributes and reflections by emailing yourqueen@bbc.co.uk.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:

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