Queen's funeral will remember her place in history

The Queen’s state funeral will remember the late monarch’s place in history, with the personal sorrow of a grieving family at its heart, the Dean of Westminster has said.

The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who will lead the ceremony, said the scale of the service on Monday, September 19 was almost unprecedented, even for Westminster Abbey – the scene of so many royal milestones throughout history.

“It’s on a scale that even Westminster Abbey doesn’t often do,” he said, adding it would be a “wonderful mixture of great ceremony and some very profound but very ordinary words”.

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Hundreds of people have been involved in the preparations inside the gothic church, working through the night as they put in 19 and 20-hour shifts to stage the historic ceremony.

Mourners pay their last respects to the Queen, lying in state at Westminster Hall. Picture: PA.

Some 2,000 people will flock to the abbey, with presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens among 500 dignitaries travelling across the world to be there, as millions watch the events unfold on television.

The Dean said: “The business about it being a state funeral is really important. It’s meant to be visual. It’s meant to be grand.

“We’re supposed to be reminding ourselves of this extraordinary woman who so often took us down through the register, gave us herself, her character.”

He added: “Part of this is about remembering her significance, her place in history, her place in the nation and Commonwealth.

The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster. Picture: PA.

“But it’s a funeral. It’s for a grieving family. That’s really important, personal sorrow at the heart of this.”

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He summed up the Queen’s funeral as a service of “grief, thanksgiving and hope”.

With the long-held London Bridge plans for the aftermath of the Queen’s death having finally come into play, the Dean admitted there had been “some challenging moments” and changes required.

“As you work it through, there come moments where you have to recognise no, that doesn’t work in the way we thought it would,” he said.

Queues to see the Queen lying in state at Westminster Hall continued over the weekend. Picture: PA.
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“There have been some challenging moments where we’ve had to adapt.

“There are some people who are working 19-hour days, 20-hour days at the moment, and one of the striking things is just how good they have been, when they’re very tired and been positive and making adaptions happen.”

It was, he said, a “huge privilege” to be leading the service.

“There’s a sense of responsibility that goes with it and just now and again, there’s a sort of sense of panic, but this place is good at what we do so we’ll be fine,” the Dean said.

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The Queen maintained a close connection with the abbey, which is a Royal Peculiar and subject only to the sovereign and not any archbishop or bishop.

The Dean said: “For an awful lot of my colleagues, this is really quite personal… We welcomed Her Late Majesty a number of times.

“So a lot of my colleagues know her, respect her, admire her, miss her now. So there’s something about doing something for her.”

The Queen’s is the first funeral of a reigning king or queen to be held in Westminster Abbey since George II’s in 1760.