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The Queen Mother lying in state in 2002 | Photograph: Avalon / Getty

How to see the Queen’s body lying in state in London: everything you need to know

The coffin of the monarch will be on display for four days before her state funeral, with five-mile queues and up to 750,000 people attendees

Written by
Chris Waywell
Contributors
Ellie Muir
&
India Lawrence
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Following the death of the Queen on September 8 2022, preparations have been in place for her state funeral, which traditionally takes place around ten days after the death of the monarch. Another tradition is that monarchs lie in state for a period of time so that their subjects can pay their respects. In the case of Queen Elizabeth II, this lying state will take place over the four-and-a-half-days immediately preceding her funeral, from 5pm on Wednesday September 14 to 6.30am on Monday September 19.

Members of the public will be able to attend and view the Queen’s body, but it will require some careful planning. Here’s what you need to know. There are full government guidelines here.

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What does ‘lying in state’ mean?

Traditionally, lying in state is when a well-known public figure or monarch dies and their body is placed on view in a state building so that the populace can pay their respects in person. Obviously, the tradition predates the internet, social media and even mass literacy, so for many subjects it might have been the only time they would see or even be near the monarch. 

Where will the Queen be lying in state in London?

The Queen’s coffin was flown down from Scotland, where she died, to London yesterday. Later it will progress to Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, and be on view to the public. The coffin will be placed on a raised platform, draped in the Royal Standard and surmounted by the Imperial State Crown, Orb and Sceptre, usually kept in the Tower of London. It will be guarded by members of the armed forces. 

When will the Queen be lying in state in London?

The Queen will lie in state for four days before her funeral. The Queen’s lying in state begins at 5pm on Wednesday September 14 and ends at 6.30am on Monday September 19.

What's the lying in state procession route and details?

Today (Wednesday September 14) a ceremonial procession, starting at 2.22pm, will transport the coffin of the Queen from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament. This will begin the lying-in-state. It will pass by The Mall, Horse Guards Road, across Horse Guards Parade and onto Whitehall to Parliament Square and into the Palace of Westminster. More than 500 members of the military, in full uniform, will take part to the sound of funeral marches by composers including Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Chopin. 

Members of the public can watch from ceremonial viewing areas along the route, which open from 11 am. It's also being live-streamed on big screens in Hyde Park and broadcast on national television. You can see a map of the route and viewing areas here.

Can I go and see the Queen lying in state?

Yes. The Queen’s coffin will be on public view 24 hours a day in the four-and-a-half days before her funeral. 

Will I be able to see the Queen’s body or just her coffin?

Her closed coffin containing her body will be displayed, raised on a platform called a ‘catafalque’ and covered by the flag called the Royal Standard.

Where will the Queen be buried?

Queen Elizabeth II will be buried at the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, alongside her parents, King George VI and the Queen Mother. Following her funeral at Westminster Abbey, her body will be transported by road to Windsor.

How long will I have to queue?

Find out about the line length and where you have to queue here.

It’s estimated that you might have to queue for more than 12 hours to see the Queen lying in state. And be forewarned: there is no seating, facilities or food and drink. The last time this happened was when the Queen Mother died in 2002, when 200,000 people filed past her coffin lying in state. This time will certainly be far busier. It’s estimated that up to three-quarters of a million people might attend, and the queue stretch five miles.

Where will the queue be?

The queue is expected to stretch up to five miles. It will begin by Southwark Park in Bermondsey and stretch west along the river, past Tower Bridge, London Bridge and Waterloo before going across Lambeth Bridge and up to Westminster Hall.

Here is a map of the expected queue route:

Map of the queue to see the Queen lying in state
Photograph: Time OutMap of the queue to see the Queen lying in state

Will there be lots of roads closed in central London?

Yes. There will be huge disruption within central London in the days leading up to the funeral and on Monday September 19 itself. There will be road closures stretching from Picadilly to Westminster. The Mall, Birdcage Walk, Constitution Hill, Horse Guards Road and Grosvenor Place will all be closed off until the funeral on Monday 19 September.

Here is a map of the road closures for the Queen lying in state:

Lying in state road closures
Photograph: Time OutMap of the road closures for the Queen lying in state

How many people are expected to come and see the Queen lying in state?

A report in the Times suggests that the authorities are prepared for up to 750,000 people to see the Queen lying in state. 

What am I allowed to bring?

Visitors are permitted to bring one small bag, measuring no more than 40cm x 30cm x 20cm, with one opening so that security checks are as quick as possible. Larger bags can be left in a bag-drop facility.

No food or drink is permitted after the security checks, so you must consume any while you’re in the queue outside.

What items are not allowed at the Queen’s lying in state?

Full guidelines on banned items are given here. Among the items are liquids, food, flowers (and other tributes), sprays and paints, chains, ropes and other climbing equipment, knives and sharp objects, banners and flags, and non-foldable pushchairs.

Will there be a bag drop at the Queen’s funeral?

Yes, but it will be very busy and they cannot guarantee space in it, so you are advised to only bring one small bag with you.

What will security be like?

Security will be tight. On arrival, you will be issued with a wristband, which you will have to remove once you leave the Palace of Westminster after visiting. You cannot ask someone else to queue on your behalf. There will be airport-style security and bag searches. Certain items will be confiscated, including drinks and liquids. Find full official info here.

Can I take photographs at the Queen’s lying in state?

No, photography is not permitted.

Can I take my children?

You can, but be aware of all of the above. It’s probably not a brilliant idea, to be honest.

What should I wear and how should I behave?

Be respectful. The guidelines suggest dressing appropriately (no slogan T-shirts, for example), remaining silent while in Westminster Hall and turning off phones. Police and stewards will monitor the queue, removing people who are drunk or behaving inappropriately. 

Who was the last person to lie in state in London?

The Queen Mother lay in state in 2002 following her death at the age of 101. Although she didn’t technically have a state funeral since she was not the reigning monarch at the time of her death, she lay in state for three days, and was seen by more than 200,000 people. Prince Philip did not lie in state in 2021.  

Is there an official government guide?

There are full official government guidelines here.

We will update this page will more details as they are released.

When is the Queen’s funeral, can I attend and is there a procession?

Some of the more unusual things set to take place in London following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. 

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