What is the ‘Wand of Office’ and why will it be broken for the Queen

·1-min read

When Queen Elizabeth II is finally laid to rest, one last parting ceremony will take place as the Lord Chamberlain symbolically breaks his Wand of Office and places it on her coffin.

The Lord Chamberlain is the most senior member of the Royal Household and is responsible for overseeing all departments, staff, organising royal events, and acting as a liaison between the sovereign and the House of Lords.

The current Lord Chamberlain is Lord Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere, who was appointed on 1 April 2021 and whose first official duties involved planning the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The Wand of Office is a thin white staff, owned by Lord Chamberlin, which was once meant to be a device used to discipline courtiers if they were too rowdy.

The symbolic breaking of this wand is a traditional part of every sovereign’s funeral but it will be the first time the public is witnessing the act since 1952 during the funeral of King George VI.

This ceremonial gesture will be carried out just as the final hymn is sung on Thursday.

 (EPA)
(EPA)

After the Queen’s coffin is lowered into the royal vault, the sovereign’s Piper will play a lament and the Archbishop of Canterbury will pronounce the blessing, before the congregation sings the national anthem.

The Queen’s final resting place will be the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex to the main chapel where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.