London braces for Queen's funeral: TWO MILLION to arrive in capital

London braces for Queen’s funeral: Hundreds of mourners camp out on Mall with TWO MILLION set to descend on capital to pay their respects with crowds 8ft-deep lining roads inside TWELVE-mile ‘ring of steel’

  • 10,000 police officers and 10,000 military personnel will be on duty along the funeral route on Monday
  • The funeral service will begin at 11am at Westminster Abbey, before a 23-mile procession to Windsor Castle
  • UK transport networks are bracing for disruption as two million people are set to descend on the capital
  • Hundreds of people are already camping out along The Mall to secure a good view as royals leave the Palace 
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

London is bracing for two million people to descend on the city to watch the late Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral on Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow as 10,000 police officers prepare to instigate a 12-mile ‘ring of steel’ as part of the largest-ever security operation in the UK.

The funeral is expected to be the most-watched event ever televised, with tens of thousands expected to line the streets to say goodbye to the Queen, who reigned for more than 70 years.

Police are preparing a ‘ring of steel’ around central London to protect the royal family and hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries at the event, which begins tomorrow morning.

Around 10,000 officers will be on duty along the funeral procession route alone to control the crowds, which are expected to be up to eight feet deep in some places.

Those intending to travel to or be in the capital on Monday are being warned to expect major travel disruption, with London’s public transport expected to be ‘much busier’ than normal.

Hundreds of thousands of people are thought the be on their way to London today, with trains, roads and airports all expected to be hit by high passenger numbers.

Hundreds of people are already camping out along the funeral route, including along The Mall and outside Westminster Palace.

And 22-miles of barriers as well as public viewing stands have already been erected along the funeral procession route. 

It comes as tens of thousands of people continue to queue to see the Queen lying in state. 

Dozens of tents sprang up overnight on Saturday as people camp along The Mall ahead of Monday’s funeral

The tents have been pitched as close as possible to Buckingham Palace, despite police advising people not to camp out in advance

People of all ages have been spotted preparing for the funeral, with foil blankets on hand to keep warm as temperatures dropped to single figures overnight

Police officers carry out security checks at Windsor Castle, after being pictured making similar checks in the capital on Saturday

Members of security personnel stand outside the Horse Guards building ahead of the state funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

Public viewing areas are already being prepared in central London for people to watch the coffin pass

A map of all the public viewing areas on Monday where members of the public can watch the funeral procession

The procession route for the Queen’s final journey on Monday

– Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey

The Queen’s Coffin will be carried from Westminster Hall shortly after 10.35am to the State Gun Carriage, which will be positioned outside the building’s North Door.

The procession will go from New Palace Yard through Parliament Square, Broad Sanctuary and the Sanctuary before arriving at Westminster Abbey just before 11am.

– Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch

After the State Funeral Service finishes at around midday, the coffin will be placed on the State Gun Carriage outside the Abbey.

At 12.15pm, the procession will set off for Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner.

The route will go from the Abbey via Broad Sanctuary, Parliament Square (south and east sides), Parliament Street, Whitehall, Horse Guards including Horse Guards Arch, Horse Guards Road, The Mall, Queen’s Gardens (south and west sides), Constitution Hill and Apsley Way.

– Wellington Arch to Windsor

At Wellington Arch, the Queen’s coffin will be transferred from the State Gun Carriage to the State Hearse just after 1pm, ahead of the journey to Windsor.

It then will travel from central London to Windsor, on a route that has not been disclosed by the Palace. When the hearse arrives in Windsor, the procession will begin just after 3pm at Shaw Farm Gate on Albert Road.

– Shaw Farm Gate to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

The state hearse will join the procession, which will have been formed up and in position, at Shaw Farm Gate before travelling to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The procession will follow the route of Albert Road, Long Walk, Cambridge Gate, Cambridge Drive, George IV Gate, Quadrangle (south and west sides), Engine Court, Norman Arch, Chapel Hill, Parade Ground and Horseshoe Cloister Arch.

Just before 4pm, the procession will halt at the bottom of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel in Horseshoe Cloister. Here, the bearer party will carry the coffin in procession up the steps into the chapel.

The Queen will be interred during a private burial at King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 7.30pm.

Dozens of tents sprang up overnight on Saturday, complete with Union Jack flags, camping stools and mats to soften the ground. 

Some began camping as early as 48 hours before the funeral, desperate to ensure they get a good view and a chance to say their final farewell to Her Majesty during the procession tomorrow.

This is despite government and police guidance telling royal fans not to bring camping equipment as they may be asked to ‘move along’. 

The Queen’s coffin will leave Westminster Hall, where it is currently lying in state, at 10.44am on Monday, before the funeral service beings at 11am at Westminster Abbey in front of 2,000 people in the venue. 

Meanwhile the front of Buckingham Palace has been closed off overnight, with visitors no longer able to access the main gates, even to lay tributes.

It comes as hundreds of global leaders including US President Joe Biden began making the journey to the UK yesterday ahead of the funeral.

At least 10,000 police officers including 2,000 from around the UK will be guarding central London and the Queen’s 23 mile route to Windsor Castle on Monday. 

Many roads and bridges will be shut to traffic and almost 23-miles of barriers put up to control crowds and keep key areas empty or secure.

 A ‘ring of steel’ with a circumference of about 12 miles will be enforced by officers on the day of the funeral, within which roads will be closed from around 5am.

The Met’s DAC Stuart Cundy, the man in charge of the operation in the capital, said the force would use ‘all tools and tactics available’ to protect the Queen’s coffin, the Royal Family, hundreds of VIPs and world leaders and the two million people expected to head to the capital to mourn.

Police officers have already been pictured carrying out security checks across central London over the weekend. 

Rank-and-file will line the streets supported by armed officers on the ground and snipers on rooftops. Helicopters and CCTV will help commanders watch crowds from the sky.

Mr Cundy said: ‘This will be the largest single policing event that the Met Police has ever undertaken. As a single event this is larger than the 2012 Olympics, it is larger than the Platinum Jubilee weekend. The range of officers, police staff and all those supporting the operation is truly immense.’

He added that 34 people have been arrested as part of the policing operation in the lead up to the Queen’s funeral. 

The senior officer called the number recorded by Friday morning ‘relatively few’, and said none were for protesting.

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley described the policing operation for the funeral as ‘enormous’, adding that his officers are being supported by ‘pretty much every force across the country’ who are all ‘relishing the opportunity’. 

King Charles met with Sir Mark yesterday, who only began his new job on Monday, as well as representatives from emergency services, at Lambeth Police HQ to thank them for all of their work since the death of the Queen last Thursday. 

The 12-mile ‘ring of steel’ runs around the centre of London where all roads will be closed to traffic, and is there to protect both the public and dignitaries.

At Windsor, where the procession will end, extra security checks are being carried out on those heading to the area today and those leaving floral tributes to the Queen. 

Of the 2,000 guests inside Westminster Abbey, many of these will be foreign leaders and representatives. Among those to have already arrived are US President Joe Biden, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, Australian PM Anthony Albanese and Japanese Emperor Naruhito.

The new King Charles III met with multiple foreign leaders yesterday at Buckingham Palace.

But the UK has faced criticism over some of those invited to the monumental occasion, which include dignitaries from China and Saudi Arabia – although Russia was not issued an invite.

And over 10,000 people from the military will be involved in the Queen’s funeral, the Chief of the Defence Staff has said.

Speaking about funeral plans, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: ‘It’s enormous, it’s actually over 10,000 people in terms of both our soldiers, sailors and aviators, there will be about 6,000 as part of the procession and lining the route, both in London and Windsor.

Tents of all shapes and sizes have been seen along The Mall, decorated by multiple Union Jack flags

Some royal enthusiasts have been camping in central London for 48 hours – just to make sure they manage to catch a glimpse of the family on the day

King Charles III met with Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley yesterday to thank his officers for all their work since the death of his mother

Lines of toilets have also sprung up around the capital, including these in St James’ Park, to cater for the huge numbers of people expected in London

Police are using more than 22 miles of barricades to mark out a 12-mile ‘ring of steel’ in central London

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden leave London Stansted airport with their motorcade ahead of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Mourners continued to queue along River Thames South Bank last night to see Queen Elizabeth II lie in state in Westminster Hall

‘But it’s an enormous support effort as well, the planning has been going on for a very long time and we have the plans and now we have to execute them and there’s lots of brilliant people that are enabling that and it’s coming together as well.

‘So the army the Royal Navy, the Air Force, but also our civil servants, and we’re helping other people in London, the emergency services, some of the volunteers as well, and so that this is a sombre occasion, but it’s done with the utmost respect and also affection.’

Asked if he is nervous ahead of the service, Admiral Sir Tony went on: ‘There’s always an element of apprehension, but we have brilliant people that help at every level, some generals that have been planning this for a long time.

‘We have warrant officers and non-commissioned officers that that look at the precise execution, and that’s at my level and then all the way down.’

The military personnel are making final preparations today after a full rehearsal of the procession to Windsor took place in the early hours of yesterday morning. 

Major travel delays are expected from today until after the funeral as an estimated two million people begin arriving in the capital for the historic occasion. 

One of the UK’s biggest transport operations will take place on Monday as mourners descend on London.

Around 250 extra rail services will run – including some overnight trains – and National Highways has suspended planned motorway closures across England.

There are fears the transport network will be overwhelmed on Monday afternoon if too many people visiting the capital travel home immediately after the funeral procession leaves Westminster shortly after noon.

Mourners are being urged to delay their return journeys and check for travel updates.

TfL boss Andy Byford said the capital has seen ‘huge numbers of additional passengers’ since the Queen died on September 8, but demand will ‘reach a climax’ on Monday.

He said: ‘We’re ready for probably one of the busiest days Transport for London has ever faced.

‘It’s hard to say exactly how many additional people (will travel), but we’re preparing for potentially a million people just within the footprint of the royal palaces and Hyde Park.’

Mr Byford said TfL is ‘leaving nothing to chance’, with non-essential meetings postponed and people from across the organisation working to ensure visitors can ‘get around the city’.

TfL’s website warns: ‘We understand that many people want to pay their respects and attend ceremonial and commemorative events. This will lead to extremely busy services and station closures especially around the Westminster area.

‘We are doing everything we can to keep our city moving and ensure that people can travel safely.’ 

The company adds that ‘short-term security measures’ may be required, including queueing, closures, non-stopping or changes to the way customers enter or exit a station. 

Hyde Park Corner will close at 9pm tonight, and St James’ Park will join it in closing completely tomorrow. Westminster station will be an interchange-only station. 

Marble Arch station will also be closed from 1pm on Monday. TfL says it hopes to reopen stations following the end of the funeral ‘when it is safe to do so.’ 

Besides this, Tube services will start at around 5.30am and will run for an extra hour in the evening to support customers leaving central London. An additional Elizabeth Line train will also run between Paddington and Reading once an hour overnight on Monday.

It’s possible travellers could be given live updates on delays at Underground stations tomorrow, after South Kensington passengers were told this morning that the queue to see the Queen lying in state is now ‘closed’. 

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy warned that trains will be ‘extremely busy’.

He said: ‘This is the biggest public transport operation since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and we’re working closely with all train operators to run extra trains through the day and into the night.

‘To help us provide the best possible experience and avoid lengthy queues at stations we’re asking people not to rush home after the funeral and the processions, but to take their time and experience London on this memorable day.’

Members of the Life Guards make their way along the Long Walk in Windsor during an early morning rehearsal on Saturday for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Members of the Grenadier Guards walk alongside the hearse during the rehearsal ahead of the real thing on Monday

Network Rail has postponed engineering work and is keeping its London stations open overnight to provide shelter for mourners struggling to get home.

All-night trains are only serving limited destinations, mostly within the M25.

Stationary trains are being used as waiting areas in the early hours of the morning for people waiting to catch a train home. Priority will be given to elderly and vulnerable mourners.

National Highways is deploying additional traffic officers on motorways and major A roads around London to carry out patrols, keep vehicles moving and assist the emergency services in clearing incidents.

Many major roads in London will be closed from 5am tomorrow, causing buses to be diverted and Victoria Coach station to be closed.

Passengers arriving at mainline railway stations are being advised to continue their journeys on foot rather than use public transport.

More than 100 Heathrow Airport flights will be cancelled to prevent aircraft noise disturbing proceedings at Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle.

The west London airport announced that 15% of its 1,200 flights due to take off or land on Monday will be disrupted.

British Airways – the most-affected airline – cancelled 100 short-haul flights due to the restrictions.

Despite the two million expected in the streets on Monday, many shops, restaurants and hospitality venues will remain close out of respect for the late Queen. 

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi were among those closing their supermarket stores for the day.

‘We want to express our deepest condolences to the royal family, as well as our gratitude to Her Majesty the Queen for her unwavering service,’ said Tesco’s UK chief executive Jason Tarry.

The UK’s biggest grocery business said it will open its Express convenience stores from 5pm, while a small number of convenience stores in central London and Windsor will remain open.

Other retailers including Sainsbury’s also said convenience stores and petrol stations will open from 5pm.

Asda said it will shut its stores for the funeral, but all its supermarkets will open from 5pm, with colleagues working on Monday evening to receive double pay.

Other high street retailers, such as Marks & Spencer and Primark, also said they will shut for the day.

Cinema chains such as Cineworld and Odeon have also announced plans to keep their venues shut.

Nevertheless, Downing Street has indicated that it is up to individual businesses how they approach the bank holiday.

The Queen’s coffin is currently lying in state in Westminster Hall, where thousands of people continue to file past it and pay their respects to the late monarch.

At 6.30am on Monday the hall will be closed to members of the public and final funeral preparations made.

The coffin will be pulled to Westminster Abbey at 10.44am, but guests will have to arrive from 8am – a whole three hours prior to the start of the service at 11am.

The King will lead his family in marching behind the Queen’s coffin when it is moved Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey for the funeral service.

He will walk with Anne, Andrew and Edward. Behind will be the Queen’s grandsons Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales, and behind them, the late monarch’s son-in-law Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester, and her nephew the Earl of Snowdon.

Moving elements of the funeral will include the sounding of the Last Post at 11.55am as the service nears its end, followed by a two-minute national silence which will be observed by the abbey congregation and by millions across the UK.

Four billion people globally are expected to tune with the BBC and ITV broadcasting all day in the UK.

The Reveille – the traditional bugle call that awakens soldiers at dawn – and then the National Anthem will take place, and finally a Lament played by the Queen’s Piper which will bring the service to a close at noon, when the coffin will be carried from the Abbey.

At 12.15pm the Queen’s children and members of the Royal Family will walk behind her coffin to Wellington Arch when it leaves Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty begins her journey to Windsor to be laid to rest next to her beloved husband Prince Philip.

The Queen’s coffin will be returned to the gun carriage by the bearer party and a procession, including Prince William and Prince Harry side-by-side again, will travel to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park.

The King will once again lead his family in marching behind the Queen’s coffin when it is moved. He will walk with Anne, Andrew and Edward, and behind the quartet will be the Queen’s grandsons Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales. Just like yesterday, they will be followed by the late monarch’s son-in-law Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester, and her nephew the Earl of Snowdon.

The Queen’s coffin will be carried during the procession on a 123-year-old gun carriage, pulled by 98 Royal Navy sailors using ropes in a tradition dating back to the funeral of Queen Victoria.

She will be accompanied on her final journey by a massed Pipes & Drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas, and the Royal Air Force – numbering 200 musicians.

Her Majesty’s hearse will arrive at the Long Walk at 3.15pm, where the public will be able to give their final respects. The procession of senior royals, which will have been formed up and in position after being driven to Windsor, will again walk behind the hearse into the grounds of the castle.

There will be a televised ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor at 4pm on Monday. Some 800 people, including members of the Queen’s Household and Windsor estate staff, will attend the committal service. As the coffin is lowered into the royal vault the Sovereign’s Piper will play a lament and walk slowly away so the music fades.

Later, the Royal Family will have a private burial service. 

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