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Five facts to know about Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession

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The procession that will carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II to Westminster Abbey for her state funeral and then to Windsor for her burial reflects the traditions of the British monarchy.


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Carriage pulled by the Royal Navy

A large group of Royal Navy sailors will pull the cannon shaft that will carry the coffin with ropes, while others, 142 in total, will follow them to act as a brake.

This tradition dates back to the funeral of Queen Victoria, in February 1901. The horses destined to pull the carriage, which weighed more than 2 tons, became frightened and ran wild, threatening to make the coffin fall.

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Prince Louis of Battenberg, a captain in the Royal Navy, suggested to the new King Edward VII that they be replaced by soldiers.

Nine years later, on the death of Edward VII, the same provision was put into practice, which has since become a new ritual.

The pallbearers

Eight soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the Queen’s Grenadier Company will be tasked with carrying the coffin from Westminster Hall to the shaft and then into Westminster Abbey after the procession has finished.

This is one of five Royal Household National Guard infantry regiments and one of the oldest in the British Army.

The uniform of its members, recognizable by its tall black bear hair helmet, was inspired by the grenadiers of Napoleon’s imperial guard, defeated at Waterloo.

These soldiers will be accompanied by officers from the Queen’s Squire Service.

Honor to three regiments

Three regiments will be specially honored during the procession, allowing them to march very close to the coffin of Elizabeth II.

The Yeomen of the Guard, the oldest military corps in the British Army, created in 1485, and the Honorable Corps of Knights-at-Arms are two former bodyguard units of the monarch, now limited to a ceremonial role.

The former still wear the red and gold uniform of the Tudor era (16th century), with a crossed band that differentiates them from the famous Beefeaters of the Tower of London, whose uniform is very similar.

Among its still emblematic tasks is the search ceremony of the basements of Parliament before the opening speech delivered each year by the monarch. This ritual commemorates the “Gunpowder Plot”, a failed attempt on the life of King James I and Parliament in 1605.

They will be followed by members of the Royal Company of Archers, who were Elizabeth II’s bodyguards when she was in Scotland.

Detachments from other British and Commonwealth regiments, of which the Queen was Commander-in-Chief, will join the procession that will escort Elizabeth II from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch.

The Royal House of Elizabeth II

If the members of the royal family, led by the new King Carlos III, will follow the coffin, the carriage will be preceded by officials from the Royal House of Elizabeth II, such as the director of the Royal Collection or the private secretary of the late monarch.

In front of them will advance pipe and drum bands from Scottish and Irish regiments, a brigade of Gurkhas, soldiers of Nepali origin but members of the British Army, and 200 musicians from the Royal Air Force.

6,000 soldiers

The armed forces will have 6,000 soldiers, sailors and pilots in the procession or deployed along the route, Admiral Tony Radakin, chief of the General Staff, told the BBC on Sunday.

They will perform a royal salute at various points along the route of the coffin, for example when passing by the memorial to Queen Victoria.

“For all of us, this is our last duty to Her Majesty the Queen and our first great duty to His Majesty King Charles,” Radakin stressed.

Source: Gestion

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