What does lying in state mean? How long will Queen remain at Westminster - is it different to lying at rest

The late Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin will lie in state at Westminster Hall following a procession from Buckingham Palace

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The public will have the opportunity to see the Queen’s coffin ahead of her funeral on 19 September at Westminster.

Her coffin will lie in state at Westminster Hall following her arrival in London from Edinburgh where she lay at rest.

What is lying at rest, how is it different from lying in state, and how can you see the Queen’s coffin - this is everything you need to know:

The Queen’s coffin is transferred from BalmoralThe Queen’s coffin is transferred from Balmoral
The Queen’s coffin is transferred from Balmoral

What does lying at rest mean?

Lying at rest is the period between a public figures death and their burial during which time the coffin is on display.

Because the Queen died at Balmoral in Scotland, she lay at rest in Edinburgh for 24 hours, following the arrival of her coffin at the Palace of Holyrood House in the Scottish capital in the early hours of this morning.

It travelled on a six hour journey through Scotland from Balmoral to Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, and finally to Edinburgh.

The coffin remained in the Throne Room overnight so that members of the palace staff could pay their respects.

The coffin lay at rest at the cathedral for 24 hours, giving the public an opportunity to view it during that time.

Lying at rest is a little less formal than lying in state, and will take place over a shorter period, but both ceremonies look very similar.

What is lying in state?

Lying in state is very similar to lying at rest, with the key difference being the location of the coffin.

When the coffin is at the Queen’s primary residence, London, then it is lying in state. The Queen moved to Buckingham Palace after her accession to the throne in 1952 and it was her main residence for the rest of her life.

Lying in state is reserved for monarchs, queen consorts, and on very rare occasions, prime ministers.

The Queen Mother was the last person in the UK to lie in state following her death in 2002, and Winston Churchill was the last Prime Minister to have the honour, in 1965.

Prince Philip did not lie in state following his death in April 2021, according to his wishes for a funeral of minimal fuss.

During the ceremony of lying in state, the coffin is placed on a raised platform called a catafalque, and will be draped in a royal flag.

The Queen’s coffin will lie in state in Westminster Hall inside Westminster Abbey from 5pm on Wednesday evening until 6.30am on the morning of September 19, the day of the funeral.

Westminster Hall will be open to the public 24 hours a day during this time so that mourners can file past.

Roughly 200,000 people attended Westminster Hall to see the Queen Mother’s coffin in 2002, it is expected that even more will come to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin.