How and where can you see the Queen lying in state?

·6-min read

As is tradition, the Queen will lie in state before her funeral on Monday 19 September - allowing members of the public to pay their respects.

As the Queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, she is first lying at rest at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Afterwards, she will lie in state at Westminster Hall in central London.

The historic occasions are expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.

Here is what we know so far about the plans:

What is lying in state?

Lying in state is when the closed coffin of a sovereign is placed on view, allowing the public to pay their respects before the funeral ceremony.

During this period, the coffin rests on a raised platform - known as a catafalque - and is guarded 24 hours a day.

The coffin is draped in a royal flag and a crown is traditionally placed on top.

The last person to lie in state in the UK was Queen Elizabeth, the Queen's mother.

An estimated 200,000 people visited Westminster Hall to pay their respects before her funeral on 9 April 2002.

Prince Philip did not lie in state before his funeral on 17 April 2021, a decision which officials said was taken in line with his wishes.

Coronavirus restrictions that were in place at the time also meant mass public gatherings were banned.

Other notable figures can also lie in state as former prime minister Sir Winston Churchill did before his state funeral in 1965.

Where will the public be able to see the Queen's coffin?


The Queen's coffin is currently lying at rest in Edinburgh, her death having taken place in Scotland last Thursday.

The King and Queen Consort travelled to Edinburgh to join a procession from Holyroodhouse to St Giles' Cathedral.

Mourners have been able to view the coffin at the cathedral since 5pm on Monday (though this part is not a full lying in state).

A queuing system is in place with strict security checks and restrictions on mobile phones. Photography and recording is strictly prohibited.

Members of the public who wish to pay their respects have been warned they face long waits due to the anticipated demand.

Officials say weather conditions may be challenging and standing for a number of hours should be expected.

On Tuesday at 5pm, a hearse will take the coffin to Edinburgh Airport, arriving at 6pm.

The Princess Royal will fly with the coffin for the 55-minute flight to RAF Northolt as the Queen returns to London.

Guards of honour will salute the departure from Scotland and the arrival in England.

The state hearse will take the Queen's coffin to Buckingham Palace.

The route will be via the A40, Eastbourne Terrace, Lancaster Gate, Bayswater Road, Marble Arch, Park Lane, Hyde Park Corner and Constitution Hill, arriving at the Centre Gate Centre Arch of Buckingham Palace.

Once at Buckingham Palace, the coffin will be placed in the centre of the Bow Room to give members of the royal household the chance to pay their respects.

The Queen's coffin will rest in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace overnight.


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The Queen will lie in state at Westminster Hall in central London from Wednesday 14 September.

Traditionally, lying in state begins five days after the day of death - known operationally as D+5.

But as the announcement of the Queen's death came after 6pm on Thursday evening, plans have been moved by a day to allow more time for arrangements to be made.

The Imperial State Crown and a wreath of flowers will be placed on top of the coffin.

There will first be a ceremonial procession through London, taking in The Mall, Horse Guards, Whitehall, Parliament Square, and New Palace Yard.

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The coffin will arrive at the Palace of Westminster at 3pm where the Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct a short service.

The Queen's lying in state will then begin in Westminster Hall, codenamed Operation Marquee.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to file past the coffin on its catafalque and pay their respects, just as they did for the Queen Mother's lying in state in 2002.

From Wednesday until the funeral on Monday 19 September the weather is expected to remain dry but fresh, with a fair amount of cloud, cooler winds and a less than 10% chance of rain.

Senior royals are also expected to pay their own moving tribute, standing guard at some stage around the coffin - the tradition known as the Vigil of the Princes.

How can I see the Queen lying in state?

It will last four full days and be open to the public 24 hours a day - ending at 6.30am the day of her funeral.

The Queen's state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11am on Monday 19 September, which has now been deemed a bank holiday.

Thousands of people will queue in the streets for the chance to see the Queen's coffin lying in state and it involves a huge co-ordinated security operation.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said hundreds of extra officers had already been called in as they manage crowds.

Police are expecting a "hugely complex" operation as mourners are expected to queue for several hours, including overnight, to pay their respects to the Queen.

What should you expect if you visit?

Large crowds are expected, with warnings of long queues and delays on public transport.

Visitors will go through airport-style security and there are tight restrictions on what you can take in.

People will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will keep moving.

"Please consider this before you decide to attend or bring children with you," says the official guidance.

The queue may also close early to ensure as many visitors as possible can enter.

People have been warned to "respect the dignity of the event" and remain silent in the palace.

What can you take with you - and what is banned?

There will be a strict bag policy, with only one small bag per person permitted.

The bag must be smaller than 40cm x 30cm x 20cm, with a simple opening or zip.

There will be a bag drop facility but places are limited.

There are limited places to buy food along the queue route, so the public is encouraged to bring food and drink. But these must be consumed, or disposed of, before entering the palace.

A portable mobile phone charger is advised, given the long queue times.

Flasks, water bottles - unless they are clear - flowers, and other tribute items are all banned.

Banners, placards, flags, advertising or marketing messages are also not allowed.

All camping equipment - including coolers, hampers, sleeping bags, blankets, folding chairs - are not to be brought, as well as non-foldable pushchairs.