Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin standing vigil at HM The Queen's coffin with UK's service chiefs 17092022 CREDIT MOD Twitter.jpg
Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin stood vigil at Her Majesty The Queen's coffin alongside UK's service chiefs (Picture: MOD).
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Military chiefs told to 'up their game' at funeral rehearsal, CDS reveals

The chiefs have been told to listen to a metronome at 75 beats a minute, to ensure they get the right rhythm for the funeral procession.

Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin standing vigil at HM The Queen's coffin with UK's service chiefs 17092022 CREDIT MOD Twitter.jpg
Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin stood vigil at Her Majesty The Queen's coffin alongside UK's service chiefs (Picture: MOD).

Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin has said the defence chiefs have been told to "up their game" for Her Majesty The Queen's funeral.

Admiral Radakin provided a sense of the scale of the event to BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme.

He also spoke about the "enormous" personnel involvement, which he said is "actually over 10,000 people in terms of both our soldiers, sailors and aviators, there will be about 6,000 as part of the procession and lining the route, both in London and Windsor".

When reflecting on the planning and preparation behind the funeral the CDS spoke of the "brilliant people that help at every level" and specifically recognised the "wonderful man", Garrison Sergeant Major Vernon Stokes, of the Coldstream Guards.

Admiral Radakin said that "on Friday, at the rehearsal, he asked the chiefs to up their game, we've all been told to listen to a metronome at 75 beats a minute, so you might see people walking around London so that we get the right rhythm for the funeral procession."

Watch: Windsor overnight rehearsals that took place on Friday for Her Majesty the Queen's funeral.

"We have the plans and now we have to execute them"

Admiral Radakin praised the "enormous support effort" behind the planning of the event.

"The planning has been going on for a very long time and we have the plans and now we have to execute them and there's lots of brilliant people that are enabling that and it's coming together as well.

"So the Army the Royal Navy, the Air Force, but also our civil servants, and we're helping other people in London, the emergency services, some of the volunteers as well, and so that this is a sombre occasion, but it's done with the utmost respect and also affection."

When asked if he is nervous ahead of the service, the Chief of the Defence Staff said: "There's always an element of apprehension, but we have brilliant people that help at every level, some generals that have been planning this for a long time. 

"We have warrant officers and non-commissioned officers that look at the precise execution, and that's at my level and then all the way down."

Watch: Army rehearsals at Longmoor Camp for Her Majesty the Queen's funeral.

"Last duty" to the Queen

The Chief of Defence said soldiers taking part in the Queen's funeral will view it as their "last duty" to her.

He told Laura Kuenssberg's programme: "For all of us, this is our last duty for Her Majesty the Queen and it's our first prominent duty for His Majesty King Charles, and we're representing the nation, we're representing our mothers, our grandmothers, our fathers, our friends, and everybody's very, very aware of that."

The UK's service chiefs paid their respects, earlier this week to the late Sovereign standing vigil at Her Majesty The Queen's coffin.

Asked about standing vigil at the Queen's lying in state in Westminster Hall, he went on: "Well, it's a huge honour and privilege, it's the first time that the Chiefs have done that.

"And I think there's a mixture of emotions, my view of the Hall is this sense of respectfulness that the public coming through and paying their own private respects and our contribution to that, and at the heart of it is remembering that there is a grieving family."

	Service chiefs, led by Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, stand vigil at Her Majesty The Queen's coffin in Westminster Hall 16092022 CREDIT MOD Twitter.jpg
Service chiefs, led by Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, stand vigil at Her Majesty The Queen's coffin in Westminster Hall (Picture: MOD Twitter).

Admiral Radakin added: "There's a solemnity and precision about what you're doing and there's a need to concentrate to stay still for 20 minutes but then it’s also an act of reflection.

"And my personal piece was just reflecting on Her Majesty the Queen, several audiences that I been privileged to have with her, and this sense of gratitude, gratitude for what she provided to our nation, and tried to express that with the love and affection that you’re seeing throughout the country."

With military rehearsals ahead of the Queen's funeral continuing, the Chief of the General Staff General Sir Patrick Sanders, told BBC Radio 4 yesterday, that the procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner after the funeral will be "like nothing any of us have seen in our lifetimes".