Wednesday 23 October 2019 | UK News feed
Queen Mother's 'human side' seen in poems and hymns
By Andrew Alderson and Adam Lusher
12:01AM BST 07 Apr 2002
THE Queen Mother's funeral will be marked by some of her favourite hymns, Bible readings, poems and prayers, ending with a deeply personal tribute to King George VI, her late husband.
Her two favourite hymns, Immortal, invisible, God only wise and Guide Me, O thou great Redeemer, will be played at the event that is intended to reflect the "very human" as well as the formal side of her extraordinary life. The order of service closes with the same poem read out by King George in his Christmas address of 1939 after the outbreak of the Second World War.
The 55-minute service will be attended by more than 2,100 mourners, including 35 members of the British Royal Family and representatives from 25 foreign royal families.
The outline of the service on Tuesday was approved many years ago by the Queen Mother, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey announced yesterday. Before the service, the abbey's tenor bell will be tolled every minute for 101 minutes, echoing the years of the Queen Mother's life.
The Very Rev Dr Wesley Carr, the Dean of Westminster, who will conduct the service and read the bidding, said yesterday: "The service will perhaps be more gentle and not quite as monarchical as other services.
"The Queen Mother is regarded not just as a very significant royal figure, but also a very human person, as many have commented in the past few days."
The Queen Mother's coffin, draped in her personal royal standard, will be carried to Westminster Abbey to the sound of 128 pipers. Pall bearers from the Irish Guards will carry the coffin, surmounted by her diamond-encrusted crown, to the same horse-drawn gun carriage that took her body to Westminster Hall for her lying-in-state.
At 11.18am, with military precision, the procession will leave the North Door of Westminster Hall for the short journey to the abbey's Great West Door. A procession of nine senior members of the Royal family, led by the Duke of Edinburgh, will walk behind the coffin to the accompaniment of the Massed Pipes and Drums of 13 regiments.
Prince Philip will be accompanied by the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, Prince William, Prince Harry, Viscount Linley and Peter Phillips, Princess Anne's son.
The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and his son, Lord Glamis, 15, representing the Queen Mother's blood family, the Bowes-Lyons, will also walk behind the gun carriage.
The last to arrive at the abbey, ahead of the coffin, will be the Queen accompanied by Lady Sarah Chatto, her niece, and Lady Sarah's husband Daniel, Cdre Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne's husband, with the Princess's daughter Zara Phillips, the Duke of York's daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and Viscountess Linley.
Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles's companion, will attend the funeral at the invitation of the Queen. Mrs Parker Bowles, an old friend of the Queen Mother's, will not sit with Prince Charles but with friends.
The funeral service begins at 11.30am. Royal officials are keen for help in trying to trace the origins of a poem chosen by the Queen Mother that will be on the cover of the order of service.
"You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left."
Before the service, there will be four pieces of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, including Fantasia and Fugue in G minor. They will be followed by Solemn Melody by Henry Walford Davies.
The Choir of Westminster Abbey will sing sentences from St John, Job, the Book of Common Prayer and Revelation. The first lesson will be Ecclesiastes 12: 1-7 read by the Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr David Hope, the Lord Archbishop of York. The abbey's choir will then sing Psalm 121.
The second lesson will be Revelation 7: 9-17 read by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster and the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales.
Dr George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will read the commendation and the blessing. Before the commendation, the mourners will hear excerpts from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress read by the Rev Anthony Burnham, the moderator of the the Free Churches Council.
Towards the end of the service, between The Last Post and Reveille, a full list of the Queen Mother's "styles and titles" will be read out by Peter Gwynn-Jones, the Garter King of Arms. This will be followed by the National Anthem.
The service will end on a poignant note when mourners turn to the back cover of the order of service. They will see a poem by M Louise Haskins that was read by George VI as the nation faced war: "I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown'. And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way!' So I went forth and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night."
The cortege and procession will then leave the abbey. After the service, there will be more music: Bach's Prelude and Fugue in E flat.
At 12.35pm the procession of cars will leave Westminster Abbey for St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. The crown that the Queen Mother wore for George VI's coronation will still be on the coffin.
The procession will go into Parliament Square, along Whitehall, through Horse Guards Arch, and along the Mall on its route to Windsor.
The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight of vintage Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters, will fly over Buckingham Palace and The Mall as the Queen Mother's coffin is taken on its final journey from the capital.
On arrival at Windsor, the coffin will be interred beside King George VI. The royal couple's final resting place is currently marked by the inscription "George VI". Underneath will be added the king's dates "1895 to 1952" and "Queen Elizabeth 1900 to 2002."
On Wednesday, the Queen's wreath of white roses and sweet peas, which have adorned her mother's coffin since Friday, will be placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey. This echoes a gesture by the Queen Mother on her wedding day when she spontaneously placed her bouquet on the tomb.
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