Dress code for UK’s first full state funeral in almost 60 years reflects a change in style and attitudes
Mourners invited to pay their respects to Sir Winston Churchill at the UK’s last full state funeral, wore top hats, fur coats and greatcoats.
Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will reflect the changing times, with women advised that “trouser suits may be worn”.
The bright green invitation – a version of which was sent to world leaders, politicians, public figures and European royals, as well as more than 500 dignitaries from around the world – is a simple, no frills affair with a black trim.
Guests are informed that while the doors to Westminster Abbey will open at 8am, the main congregation should be seated by 9.30am ahead of the 11am ceremony.
Heads of state and royalty will arrive between 9.45am and 10.40am before the coffin procession departs Westminster Hall at 10.45am.
Serving members of the Armed Forces are told to wear full ceremonial dress and mourning bands but are warned “no swords”.
Men can wear morning dress or lounge suits while women can wear day dress, including hats. Decorations are allowed.
On the reverse of the admission card is a guest checklist containing “critical information” that they are advised to read carefully.
The scale of the security operation surrounding the event means that mourners will be required to show two forms of identification, including a photograph and proof of address.
They are told not to take cameras or any hand luggage, bar handbags and rainwear.
They must arrive at the accreditation area for security checks and Metropolitan Police searches from 8am.
The invitation warns that attendees will face passing through “airport-style search arches” as a condition of entry into Westminster Abbey and they are urged to assist the police in the “smooth running” of the checks.
Guests were also advised that owing to the tight security and the large numbers of spectators expected to flock to central London for the funeral, that roads surrounding Westminster Abbey will be closed to all traffic from 10pm on Sunday.
Therefore, guests arriving by private vehicles or taxi drop-offs will have to stop in a specially designated area nearby, under the direction of the Metropolitan Police.
Many heads of state and government representatives, including foreign royal families, governors-general and realm prime ministers, will gather at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and travel together to the Abbey by bus.
The plan was made due to fears of gridlock on the roads around Westminster and as such, dignitaries have been asked to be as flexible as possible.
Some high profile leaders – including Joe Biden, the US President, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and President Isaac Herzog of Israel – are expected to have their own transport based on security considerations.
Mr Biden has been permitted to travel in his armoured Cadillac, known as the Beast.
The service will be the first full state funeral since Winston Churchill’s was held at St Paul’s Cathedral on January 30, 1965. The service had an estimated television audience of around 25 million people in the UK and 350 million globally.
The late Queen had specifically requested that her first prime minister’s funeral be a state occasion, describing him as a “national hero” who “in the hours of our greatest danger was the inspiring leader who strengthened and inspired us all”.
She said the public should have the opportunity to express their sorrow to remember the “outstanding man who in war and peace served his country unfailingly for more than 50 years”.
The Queen was joined at the ceremony by the Duke of Edinburgh, in naval uniform, a teenage Prince Charles, Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
On Monday, working members of the Royal family are expected to wear military uniforms. The Duke of York and the Duke of Sussex will be in morning dress, with medals.
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