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Forecasters say that rain is unlikely to fall during the Queen’s momentous state funeral on Monday, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to head to London that day.
The Met Office predicts that most of the UK will experience a settled spell of broadly dry and fine weather with some sunny spells on Monday.
In London during the ceremony and the Gun State Carriage procession to the Wellington Arch and Hyde Park Corner at around 1pm, sunshine is expected to come down on the capital as the world watches the funeral go ahead.
And when the Queen’s coffin is brought to Windsor for the final time, dry weather is also expected.
Those waiting outside in the 16-hour-long queues from Westminster Hall to Southwark Park to see the Queen’s coffin lying in state are also lucky with the weekend of weather – as although the mornings and evening are chilly, most areas will be fine and dry with more sunny spells throughout the day.
Today’s temperatures are expected to reach highs of around 17C (62.6F) in the south and 14C (57.2F) in the north of England and Scotland, with Hereford, Cardiff and Southampton reaching 18C (64.4F) later on this afternoon.
Overnight and early tomorrow morning temperatures in the capital will drop to 10C (50F) tonight, with cloudy skies expected tomorrow in the final hours before the Queen’s funeral on Monday.
During the one-minute national silence at 8pm on Sunday, the night before the state funeral, London and Windsor will be at 16C (60.8F), Sandringham in Norfolk will be 13C (55.4F) and Balmoral will be 9C (48.2F).
Forecasters say that rain is unlikely to fall during the Queen’s momentous state funeral on Monday, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to head to London that day (pictured, people near Tower Bridge queuing to the Queen’s coffin which is laying-in-state at Westminster Hall)
Those waiting outside in the 16-hour-long queues from Westminster Hall to Southwark Park to see the Queen’s coffin lying in state are also lucky with the weekend of weather – as although the mornings and evening are chilly, most areas will be fine and dry with more sunny spells throughout the day (Westminster Abbey, where the funeral will take place, pictured yesterday)
King Charles III, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex mount a vigil around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II last night
Final preparations are underway for the funeral on Monday, with 2,000 VIPs – from world leaders Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Jacinda Ardern to royals including Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia and the Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima – expected to arrive throughout the weekend.
Rehearsals took place last night and will continue over the weekend to make sure that everything is in place for Monday’s State Funeral, which will be the biggest show of pomp, pageantry and majesty seen in the modern age. World leaders and royalty from across the globe are flying in to pay their respects.
They will be joined by hundreds of charity representatives and members of the public honoured for their civic duty who have secured places in the 2,000-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey.
Palace officials yesterday extended the route of the Queen’s final journey from Westminster Abbey on Monday – the site of her funeral between 11am and 12pm – to Windsor Castle, her final resting place, to enable more people to bid her farewell.
First the Queen’s coffin will be borne by an extraordinary procession of the State Gun Carriage through London to Wellington Arch, where it will be transferred to the State Hearse at 1pm. Other members of the Royal Family will then travel along the M4 to Windsor, where a second ceremony will be held at St George’s Chapel.
Members of the Armed Forces take part in a full ceremonial rehearsal of Queen Elizabeth II’s committal in the early hours of Saturday morning – as people continued to queue on a chilly night to be able to see the Queen’s coffin lie in state
Armed Forces staff took part in a rehearsal in the early hours of this morning ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday – which should see sunny spells and dry weather
Today’s temperatures are expected to reach highs of around 17C (62.6F) in the south and 14C (57.2F) in the north of England and Scotland, with Hereford, Cardiff and Southampton reaching 18C (64.4F) later on this afternoon (a queuer for the laying-in-state ceremony is pictured on Saturday morning)
Members of the public queue on Saturday morning near Tower Bridge, to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state in Westminster Hall
But if the former monarch had been driven via the motorway, mourners wanting to say their goodbyes would have been unable to line the route.
The cortege will follow the A4 through west London, going along Talgarth Road via the Hammersmith Flyover, and along the Great West Road.
Just before Heathrow, the hearse will switch to the A30 Great South West Road, and travel around the south side of the airport.
It will process along London Road, still the A30, and Staines Road, before crossing the M25 to Windsor Road (the A308) for the final leg to Windsor along a countryside stretch of the River Thames. The route will take the Queen’s coffin through 25 miles of London streets and villages in Surrey and Berkshire. Last night a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘The route to Windsor is planned with the public in mind.’
The news confirms suggestions that the Queen’s coffin would not travel on the M4, which would have been the quickest route, giving thousands more Britons the chance to pay their last respects as her coffin passes.
Travelling along A-roads west out of London to Berkshire means it will be easier for mourners to line up along the road.
Last night, King Charles and his siblings held a silent vigil in Westminster Hall to pay a moving tribute to their beloved mother. As members of the public watched in complete silence, the four senior royals – all in dress uniform – approached the Queen’s coffin.
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to the Queen lying-in-state at Westminster Hall earlier this afternoon
William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to see the Queen lying-in-state earlier this afternoon alongside his father, King Charles
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to the Queen in London – some of which have been queuing for 14 hours
At just after 7.45pm, the duty officer struck the floor three times with his staff to signal the arrival of the late monarch’s four children.
They lined up, the King at the front, followed by Anne, Edward and then Andrew, as the staff was struck three times again. Solemnly, they approached the catafalque – the raised platform holding the coffin – to take their positions and approach their mother’s coffin.
Another three strikes of the staff, echoing throughout the cavernous Norman hall, and they stepped up before facing outwards, and then three strikes again.
Four candles flickered as they stepped up, the King, 73, sporting his Royal Navy ceremonial dress; Princess Anne, 72, in the uniform of the Blues and Royals, and the Earl of Wessex, 58, the Blues uniform with the rank of Honorary Royal Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry.
Former Royal Navy helicopter pilot Andrew, 62, who is no longer a working royal and has been stripped of his honorary affiliations, was given special permission by Charles to wear a uniform for the vigil as a mark of respect for Her Majesty. He chose his Vice-Admiral’s uniform, an honour given to him by the Queen on his 55th birthday.
Members of the public, many of whom had been queueing all day, were allowed to keep filing into the 900-year-old hall.
The chilly weather saw many well-wishers wrapping themselves up in blankets and winter coats as the four-and-a-half mile route to reach Westminster Hall.
People have continued to pay their respects to the Queen across the country, with members of the public pictured arriving at Windsor Castle to lay flowers in the morning sunshine on Saturday.
Members of the public in the queue near Southbank in London, as they wait to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state ahead of her funeral on Monday
The chilly weather saw many well-wishers wrapping themselves up in blankets and winter coats as the four-and-a-half mile route to reach Westminster Hall (pictured this morning)
People have continued to pay their respects to the Queen across the country, with members of the public pictured arriving at Windsor Castle to lay flowers in the morning sunshine on Saturday
Flowers and messages left outside Cambridge Gate on the Long Walk in Windsor on Saturday morning ahead of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday
Once they get inside, mourners are now put into two queues each side of the Catafalque holding the Queen’s coffin, doubling the lines after concerns of delays.
Since the early hours of yesterday morning officials have directed queuers to form two columns either side of the late Queen’s coffin, adorned with the Imperial Crown, so twice as many people can pay their respects at once.
The huge volume of people wanting to pay their final respects to Her Majesty led to the decision to double the rate of flow, ensuring as many who wished to pay their respects were able.
Yesterday David Beckham was spotted in the queue after having waited to pay his respects to the Queen for 12 hours. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also visited Westminster Hall last night.
Early this afternoon the new King and Prince William stopped by at Lambeth Bridge to thank members of the public for standing in the queue to see the Queen’s coffin lie in state.
Delighted royal fans took photographs and pressed against the metal barriers, eager to exchange a word with the King and the heir to the throne as they shook hands with those closest.
Last night’s vigil had been intended to involve only the Queen’s four children, but in a remarkable show of family unity, 18 senior family members – as well as a host of other relatives – turned up to support them.