The UK’s period of national mourning in the wake of the Queen’s death is entering its final stages, with the deceased monarch’s state funeral set to take place on Monday (19 September).
Timings for the event have been released, while partial details of the route Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin will take on its way to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle have also been revealed.
Invitations have been extended to most world leaders and foreign Royals - although the inclusion of Chinese officials amongst the invited guests has spawned outrage among MPs who condemn China’s alleged human rights abuses.
So, while we know who some of the attendees will be - how many people in total will file into Westminster Abbey for the funeral?
When is the Queen’s funeral?
The Queen’s funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday (19 September). While the occasion is set to start at 11am, guests will begin arriving from 8am.
It will last for roughly one hour, with a two-minute national moment of silence rounding off the event. The former head of state’s coffin will then process from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, before arriving in Windsor for a 4pm service.
The ceremony at St George’s Chapel will be followed by a private service for the Royal Family. This event will see the Queen laid to rest next to her husband Prince Philip in the Royal vault at the Windsor Castle chapel.
Who has been invited to the Queen’s funeral?
People invited to come to the Queen’s funeral had until Friday (16 September) to RSVP. We know several prominent world leaders will be attending the occasion, including:
- US President Joe Biden
- French President Emmanuel Macron
- EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
- Australian PM Anthony Albanese
- New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
New UK PM Liz Truss and Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer will also be in attendance, with all living former PMs expected to attend.
But it is the list of people who may or may not be coming to Westminster Abbey that’s creating intrigue.
As yet, we do not know if China’s President Xi Jinping will be travelling to London for the state funeral. It is widely expected Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan will make the trip in his place.
The relationship between China and the West has soured in recent years over alleged human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims and China’s expansionist outlook in South East Asia - a policy that has ramped up tensions with the western-backed island of Taiwan.
Russia, Belarus and Myanmar have not been invited, with President Vladimir Putin and President Alexander Lukashenko both barred from the event after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine - part of which was launched from the territory of its ally Belarus.
Myanmar has been censured for alleged genocides along ethnic and religious lines.
Iran and North Korea will only be represented at ambassadorial level, it is understood, given the tensions between these countries and the west.
How many people will go to Queen’s funeral?
In all, around 2,000 people are expected to attend the Queen’s state funeral.
This number includes the Royal Family, UK politicians and public figures, foreign world leaders and royals, key international figures, and around 200 people who received honours from the Queen for their service to the general public during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The figure has been settled upon as the maximum amount of people that can attend because it is the maximum congregation size Westminster Abbey can hold.
There is no public invite to the ceremony. Instead, members of the public have been invited to line the route of the procession to Westminster Abbey from the Palace of Westminster, and then from the Abbey to Wellington Arch.
There have been reports the post-funeral procession of the Queen’s coffin may be extended beyond Wellington Arch to allow more people to pay their respects to the UK’s deceased head of state. However, no plans have yet been confirmed.
It’s expected the route the coffin will take in the state hearse from London to Windsor will be released shortly before the event to allow people to watch it pass.