Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, expected 11 days from now, will be the culmination of an official period of mourning that began with her death on Thursday at Balmoral.
But planning to honor the 96-year-old’s life began decades ago, in the strictest secrecy, under its own code name – London Bridge.
As little as possible will be left to chance over the next week and a half, leading up to a funeral at Westminster Abbey in London, followed by the committal and burial at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, west of London.
As much as the next few days are about commemorating the Queen, they are also about the beginning of the next reign, as Prince Charles became King Charles III immediately after his mother’s death, taking on the role he has been preparing for throughout his life.
In the royal schedule, the days of mourning are identified as D (day of death) plus a number. However, D has been designated as Friday instead.
While other events may change, here’s what’s expected each day over the next week and a half.
CBC will have full coverage of the events listed below. Watch and listen to live coverage on CBC News Network, CBC Radio and the CBC News and Listen apps.
Charles became king the moment his mother died, but on D+1 he is expected to formally assume the role when the accession council meets in St. James’s Palace.
Members of the Privy Council are summoned to the historic site just down the road from Buckingham Palace. The Lord Mayor of London and councilors are invited along with High Commissioners from Commonwealth realms.
After the official announcement of the Queen’s death and the proclamation of Charles as King, he will read a declaration and take an oath to preserve the Church of Scotland.
In Canada, the Governor General receives the Proclamation for Canada, with Rideau Hall deciding how it should be done.
Proclamations are read around Britain.
Canada’s delegation to travel to London is announced.
Charles begins traveling around the UK to meet and grieve with members of the public, starting with a trip to Edinburgh. His wife, Camilla, now Queen Consort, is expected to join him.
In Canada, books of condolence will begin to be available for the public to sign.
Charles will continue to tour the UK and visit Belfast.
Condolence books will continue to be available in Canada.
The Queen’s coffin will be moved from the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace to the Bow Room, where prayers will be said. The Imperial State Crown will be placed on the casket along with a wreath of flowers. Charles and other members of the royal family are expected to attend.
The coffin will then be moved in a ceremonial procession via gun carriage to Westminster Hall, a Gothic building that has an extensive political and royal history and is the oldest building in the British Parliament.
Charles, other members of the family and members of the royal household are expected to follow on foot. Bells will ring throughout the procession.
At 4:00 p.m. begins lying in state and will continue for five days, 24 hours a day, except for 30-minute periods for cleaning.
There will be a queuing system, with people queuing outside Parliament and across the Thames, and some way beyond that.
In Canada, condolence books will continue to be available.
Lying in state continues, as do condolence books in Canada.
Charles continues his UK tour with a visit to Wales as it continues stateside.
The Queen’s four children will attend a vigil at Westminster Hall on the evening of Charles’ return.
Preparations for the funeral continue and rehearsing takes place.
Overseas executives are expected to begin arriving in London.
Charles can also go to a control center to monitor the events and see the operational side of things and thank those involved.
Heads of State and other dignitaries arrive in London and heads of state are likely to attend the Lying in State at Westminster Hall.
The Queen’s grandchildren may also hold a vigil at Westminster Hall.
Charles is expected to meet the British Prime Minister and greet members of the public who have gathered.
D+10 or later – The funeral and burial
The lying in state ends at 8:30
Two hours later, members of the royal family arrive at Westminster Hall and the coffin is placed on a gun carriage.
At 10:44 the procession to Westminster Abbey begins, with members of the Royal Family following on foot.
The hour-long funeral, which will be the first for a monarch held at Westminster Abbey since King George II’s in 1760, will begin at
At 12:15, Elizabeth’s coffin emerges from the Great West Door and Westminster Abbey for a procession to Wellington Arch.
At 1 p.m. the coffin is loaded into the state carriage to drive to Windsor.
At 2.55pm the casket arrives in Windsor for a second ceremonial procession through the town to St. George’s Chapel.
At 3:30 p.m., members of the royal family arrive for a commitment service that begins at 16. After the 45-minute service, Elizabeth’s coffin will be lowered into the royal vault. The Lord Chamberlain will break his white baton, symbolizing the end of his service, as the coffin is lowered.
At 19.30 the royal family returns for a private funeral. Elizabeth will be buried with Prince Philip in the King George VI Chapel of Remembrance. Her father and mother are buried there with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.
Much of what will happen is unprecedented for many who will watch. Only those old enough to remember the last funeral of a British monarch – on February 15, 1952 – may have memories of what a reigning king or queen’s funeral looks like.
But even that funeral – for the Queen’s father, King George VI – can only be a guide to a certain point, since it took place in St. George’s Chapel rather than in the much larger Westminster Abbey, the site of great historical, royal and spiritual significance in central London, where world leaders join the Queen’s family to honor her.
There have been other royal funerals at Westminster Abbey in moderately recent memory – Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 2002; and Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. Diana’s funeral was based on the plan for the Queen Mother’s. The funeral for Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, was held at St. George’s Chapel in 2021, but was significantly reduced from the plans that had been made. It happened during the pandemic, at a time when the rules allowed only 30 guests.