Explaining the solemn custom of lying in state for Queen Elizabeth II

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Explaining the solemn custom of lying in state for Queen Elizabeth II

Beginning on Wednesday and continuing through the day of her funeral on Monday, thousands of mourners will be able to pay their final respects to Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s funeral procession will pass through Westminster Hall during this time. Visitors have been forewarned to expect mile-long lines and tight security measures akin to those found in airports. While this is happening, visitors will be welcomed constantly.

The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, passed away on March 30, 2002, and was laid to rest at Westminster Hall for ten days prior to her funeral. Edward VII (1910), George V, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather (1936), and her father, George VI, were among the previous kings to lie in state in Westminster Hall (1952).

Where did former monarchs lie-in-state?

Monarchs laid in state in Windsor Castle during the 19th century. Before she passed away, Queen Victoria gave instructions that there should be no public lying-in-state.

The US House of Representatives and US Senate jointly pass a resolution deciding whether a person should lie in state in the US Capitol. To make that choice, each US state has its own traditions and laws.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan US organisation that serves the legislators and employees of the nation’s state legislatures, claims that  “(In the US) the practice of lying-in-state began in 1852 when Henry Clay, a US Senator from Kentucky, was the first person to lie in state in the US Capitol.”

The body should be put in an open area or a big verandah on a raised mound or platform, according to the basic rules for the lying-in-state ceremony. The path for mourners should be wide enough to allow 4-5 people to walk side by side. Following Mahatma Gandhi’s passing, Atal Bihari Vajpaye’s body was laid to rest at the BJP headquarters, while Indira Gandhi’s body was kept at Teen Murti.

Furthermore, the period of lying-in-state may last as long as permitted by religion and other factors.

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