As the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II takes place in London, you might have noticed that her funeral carriage is being pulled by members of the armed forces instead of horses.
It turns out that there’s a reason for that, and it dates all the way back to the funeral of Queen Victoria in 1901.
However, one of the splinter bars of that particular gun carriage broke, with a strap then also snapping and hitting one of the horses.
The animal panicked – as you can probably imagine – and lurched forwards, which could have caused serious problems.
The late Queen’s coffin – Victoria that is – weighed nearly half a tonne, as the coffins that bear monarchs tend to be large and made from hard wood and lined with lead.
Queen Elizabeth’s coffin is not massively different.
Anyway, back in 1901 the naval guard of honour that was accompanying the monarch’s coffin stepped in to fill the void left by the horses, volunteering to drag the coffin on the carriage to Westminster Abbey so that the funeral could go ahead as planned.
The image became incredibly famous, meaning that the new tradition was adopted and has been seen at every single British monarch’s state funeral since then.
Of course, there haven’t been too many monarchs who have had a funeral since then, given that Elizabeth was on the throne for many decades.
However, there will be other funereal traditions observed today that bear reference to Queen Victoria’s state funeral.
For example, this funeral will be held in the daytime, whereas all royal state funerals before Victoria’s were held at night.
This funeral will be broadcast live on just about every channel, and is expected to be watched all around the world.
The actual service will be presided over by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Abbey has seen a fair share of royal funerals in its time, including that of Princess Diana in 1997, as well as that of the Queen Mother in 2002.
It is believed that the Abbey has been selected because of the amount of people it can accommodate, as well as the suitability for TV broadcasts to be made from there.
Westminster Abbey can hold as many as 8,000 people, although there won’t be that many mourners present today.
Featured Image Credit: BBC/Chronicle/Alamy Stock Photo