The funeral procession makes its way down the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle
The funeral procession makes its way down the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle (Picture: MOD).
The Queen

Full details of the military's role in the Queen's funeral and committal service

A close look at the military's vital role in Her Majesty The Queen's funeral and committal service.

The funeral procession makes its way down the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle
The funeral procession makes its way down the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle (Picture: MOD).

Thousands of military personnel have played a key role in the funeral of their Commander-in-Chief of 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II.

In total, 5,949 members of the UK's Armed Forces have been deployed on ceremonial duties since the death of the Queen.

This includes 846 personnel from the Royal Navy, 4,416 from the British Army and 686 from the Royal Air Force.

In addition, about 175 members of the Armed Forces from the militaries of Commonwealth nations also took part in the proceedings.

About 4,000 UK and Commonwealth military personnel were on parade on Monday - 3,000 in central London alone.

Watch: Royal Navy sailors pull Queen's coffin to Westminster Abbey for state funeral.

Military involvement in the procession to Westminster Abbey and state funeral service

At 10:37, a bearer party of The Queen’s Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards lifted the coffin from the catafalque in Westminster Hall.

As the bearer party started moving towards the north door, the garrison sergeant major of Headquarters London District called the procession to attention.

At 10:44, the Queen’s coffin was placed onto the state gun carriage of the Royal Navy for the procession to Westminster Abbey.

About 140 sailors were involved in either pulling the gun carriage or marching behind to act as a brake – in a tradition dating back to the funeral of Queen Victoria.

As the procession moved off, the sounds of massed Pipes and Drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas, and the Royal Air Force numbering 200 musicians filled the air.

Immediately following the coffin were the King, members of the Royal Family and members of the King's Household.

The King and other royals, including the Princess Royal, the Prince of Wales and the Earl of Wessex, were all wearing military uniform.

The short procession from Westminster Hall to the Abbey, to the sound of bagpipes and Big Ben tolling, took about eight minutes.

The bearer party of the Grenadier Guards then carried the coffin into the abbey.

Soldiers of the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, were given the honour of acting as the coffin’s bearer party because of their unique association with the monarch and they flanked the carriage. 

There were no guns during the procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey.

Watch: Queen Elizabeth II: The Armed Forces' Commander-in-Chief remembered.

Procession to Wellington Arch

After the service, Her Majesty's coffin was borne through the abbey, returning to the state gun carriage for the procession to Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner.

The King and members of the Royal Family again followed the Queen's coffin in procession.

After leaving Westminster Abbey, the carriage was taken past Parliament Square, where a tri-service guard of honour remained in position, and through Horse Guards Parade where Her Majesty has presided over scores of Trooping the Colour Ceremonies during her reign. 

It was then taken up The Mall which was lined by thousands of members of the public.

The coffin was flanked once again by the bearer party and the pallbearers - former equerries to the Queen drawn from the military to organise her diary - as well as The King’s Body Guards of The Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, The Yeomen of the Guard and The Royal Company of Archers.

The procession included dozens of detachments from the UK Armed Forces and the militaries of the Commonwealth.

    Watch: Queen's coffin leaves Westminster Abbey for Wellington Arch.

    Serving and former service chiefs, senior service chaplains, other senior military representatives from the three services and representatives of other units with a special relationship to the Queen were all involved too.

    Minute guns were fired in Hyde Park by The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, throughout the procession.

    The first round was fired as the gun carriage wheels began turning outside Westminster Abbey and ended as the wheels stopped at Wellington Arch.

    Members of the King's Troop were supported by four teams from 251 Signal Squadron, 10th Signal Regiment, who provided accurate timing to synchronise the chimes of Big Ben and the firing of the minute guns.

    One of the teams sat behind the hands of the Elizabeth Clock Tower (Big Ben) to ensure the timings were perfect.

    Big Ben tolled throughout the duration of the procession which marched at 75 paces to the minute, a speed reserved for funerals.

    Military personnel during the procession through central London
    Military personnel during the procession through central London (Picture: MOD).

    About 140 Royal Navy sailors again pulled the gun carriage carrying the Queen's coffin.

    The naval ratings that towed the gun carriage included personnel from the RNAS Culdrose, RNAS Yeovilton, HM Submarines, HMS Sultan and HMNB Portsmouth.

    The King’s Life Guard, mounted by The Blues and Royals of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, gave a royal salute as the coffin passed the Front Yard at Horse Guards.

    Later, the Buckingham Palace detachment of The King’s Guard, formed by 12 Company Irish Guards, also gave a royal salute as the coffin passed on its way to Wellington Arch.

    The route of the procession to Wellington Arch was lined by 41 half companies from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force.

    This includes personnel from:

    • Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose
    • Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton
    • HMS Collingwood
    • 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines
    • Commando Logistics Regiment Royal Marines
    • 42 Commando Royal Marines
    • Commando Training Centre Royal Marines
    • 45 Commando Royal Marines
    • Royal Marines Reserve London
    • Grenadier Guards
    • Coldstream Guards
    • Irish Guards
    • Welsh Guards
    • Scots Guards
    • The Royal Regiment of Artillery
    • Royal School of Signals
    • Royal Logistic Corps
    • Royal School of Military Engineering
    • Intelligence Corps
    • Royal Air Force Cosford
    • Royal Air Force Music Services
    • Central Band of the Royal Air Force
    • Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment    

    A half company comprises one officer and 20 other ranks. The Band of HM Royal Marines Scotland, British Army Band Catterick and British Army Band Tidworth provided music to the street liners for marching into position and dispersal.

    As the captain of the gun carriage emerged from under Wellington Arch, a Royal Navy Piping Party comprising ratings from HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport, HMS Raleigh and HMS Iron Duke played The Still.

    The gun carriage then came to a stop, the bearer party removed their caps and carried the coffin into the hearse which then headed to Windsor.

    As the hearse drove away, the parade gave a royal salute and the procession bands, massed at the rear, played the national anthem.

    The parade gave a second royal salute and the national anthem was played again as the King's car drove off.

    The Massed Bands played solemn music as military units dispersed. 

    Watch: Queen's hearse leaves London and heads for Windsor Castle.

    Committal service

    The hearse carrying the Queen's coffin later arrived at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

    More than a thousand Armed Forces personnel were involved in ceremonial duties around Windsor, including in the procession and lining the route.

    The state hearse was flanked by the pall bearers and an escort party of 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

    Thousands of people lined the Long Walk in Windsor to watch the procession on the final leg of its journey to Windsor Castle and to see the Queen's coffin for the final time. 

    The Band of the Household Cavalry, The Band of the Grenadier Guards and The Massed Pipes and Drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments took turns to play music.

    Minute guns were fired by the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery - one round for every minute of the procession - from East Law, Windsor Castle.

    1st Battalion Grenadier Guards formed a guard of honour in the Horsehoe Cloister as the hearse arrived and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment provided a step-lining party on the west steps of St George’s Chapel.

    The committal service in the chapel was conducted by the Dean of Windsor. 

    Prior to the final hymn, the Imperial State Crown, the Orb and the Sceptre were removed from Her Majesty The Queen's coffin, and placed on the altar.

    The funeral procession makes its way up the Long Walk
    The funeral procession makes its way up the Long Walk (Picture: MOD).

    At the end of the final hymn, the King placed the Queen's Company Camp Colour of the Grenadier Guards on the coffin.

    At the same time, The Lord Chamberlain broke his Wand of Office and placed it on the coffin.

    This was to create a symmetry with the three Instruments of State that had been removed.

    The coffin, which was placed on a catafalque draped in purple velvet, was slowly lowered down into the royal vault as the Dean of Windsor said: "Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul."

    The chapel was completely silent as the Sovereign’s Piper played a lament, A Salute To The Royal Fendersmith, from the doorway between the chapel and the Dean’s Cloister.

    The Queen will be buried with her late husband Philip in the King George VI Memorial Chapel – an annex to the main chapel where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of Princess Margaret.

    A private burial service, attended by the King and other members of the royal family, will take place on Monday evening.

    Philip’s coffin will move from the royal vault to the memorial chapel to join the Queen’s.