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One man was responsible for planning the Queen’s funeral and he’s been preparing for it for decades

One man was responsible for planning the Queen’s funeral and he’s been preparing for it for decades

The Duke of Norfolk used the funeral of King George VI as inspiration

Millions of people are watching as the Queen's funeral plays out today (19 September) and one man was responsible for planning it all. No pressure there, then.

The Queen's coffin was moved from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral this morning, before a procession through London took her to her final resting place at Windsor Castle.

So far, everything has pretty much gone according to plan, and the smooth running of the event is thanks in large part to the organisation by the Earl Marshal of England.

The Queen's coffin was displayed in Westminster Hall before the funeral took place.
Jeff Gilbert / Alamy Stock Photo

Edward Fitzalan-Howard, who is also the Duke of Norfolk, was in charge of the Queen's lying in state period and the funeral today, following in the footsteps of his ancestors who have held the position continuously since 1672.

Speaking to The Times ahead of today's events, the earl admitted the responsibility was 'all pretty scary', but added: "You have to rise to the occasion."

The duke succeeded his father, Miles, 20 years ago after having acted on his dad's behalf for his last two years. Miles seems to have been confident in the plans for the funeral, as he once said: "I organised the crossing of the Rhine [in the Second World War] in 24 hours – the Queen’s funeral will be a piece of cake."

Fitzalan-Howard commented: "I have an incredible team, but the buck stops with me.”

Knowing that the funeral of the UK's longest-reigning monarch is no small matter, the duke started planning immediately after his father's death.

Services for the Queen's funeral are taking place in multiple locations.
MARTIN DALTON / Alamy Stock Photo

“We had annual meetings in the throne room of Buckingham Palace," he explained. "It started off with 20 people; by April this year it had reached 280. I have had a lot of help from Buckingham Palace staff."

The earl used George VI's funeral as inspiration, but acknowledged it took place 70 years ago and that a lot has changed since then. With that in mind, he held the funeral in Westminster Abbey for the first time in 200 years to allow more people to attend.

He explained: "I’ve always been very conscious that ceremonial needs to move with the times.”

Despite the years of planning he's put into the event, the duke stressed he will not be paid for his work, saying: "I am determined not to charge the state a penny for my work as earl marshal.”

The Queen will be buried alongside her mother, father and sister, as well as her late husband Prince Philip, at the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor Castle.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: The Queen, UK News