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Lady Thatcher's funeral - timings

Timings for Lady Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday 17 April.

Overview of Lady Thatcher’s funeral

The coffin will leave the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster at 10am. It will be dressed with the Union Flag. It will travel by hearse from the Palace of Westminster to the Church of St Clement Danes, the RAF Chapel, on the Strand.

At the Church the Coffin will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. The coffin will then be borne in procession from St Clement Danes to St Paul’s Cathedral. The route will be lined by tri-service military personnel.

The coffin will arrive at St Paul’s Cathedral at 11am when the funeral service will begin, it will last just under an hour. Following the service the coffin will travel by hearse to the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

There will be two receptions following the Baroness Thatcher’s funeral service. The Foreign Secretary will host a reception at the Mansion House for representatives from foreign states and other distinguished foreign VIPs. At Guildhall there will be a reception for friends and family of Lady Thatcher and representatives of UK institutions. The Thatcher family, the Prime Minister and other senior Ministers will attend both receptions.

Later the same day, following the reception there will be a private cremation at Mortlake Crematorium.

Flags will be flown at half-mast from 8am to 8pm, including over Downing Street.

Detailed timeline

From 7.30am road closures are implemented along the route from Whitehall to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Events proceed as follows:

  • 9am - doors open at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 9.30am - ceremonial route is closed to all vehicles
  • 9.35am - gun carriage leaves Wellington Barracks
  • 9.45am - street liners will line the route, made up of personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, the Army (taken from Household Division) and the Royal Air Force; they are in position by 10.05am
  • by 10am - guests will be seated at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 10am - coffin leaves, by hearse, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft. The coffin is dressed with a Union Flag. Three Metropolitan Police Service motorcycles will travel in front of the hearse. An (unmarked) police car will travel behind the hearse
  • by 10.15am - the coffin will have been placed in St Clement Danes Church by civilian pall bearers
  • 10.15am - Lord Speaker, Mr Speaker and the Prime Minister are shown to their seats
  • 10.15am - Guard of Honour deploys to St Paul’s Church Yard
  • 10.20am - gun carriage will take up position at St Clement Danes
  • 10.20am - procession band and escort party will take up position at St Clement Danes
  • 10.25am - tri-service bearer party will carry the coffin from St Clement Danes Church and place it upon a gun carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery
  • 10.25am - step lining party takes up position on the West Steps
  • 10.33am - Gun Carriage and Bearer Party and Escort Party, led by a Band of the Royal Marines, step off

The gun carriage is drawn by 6 horses (3 of which are mounted), with a sergeant riding alongside, an officer riding in front and 3 dismounted troops on foot. It travels at 70 paces a minute.

Processional minute guns are fired from Her Majesty’s Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company for the duration of the procession. The 1st round will be fired when the wheels of the gun carriage start turning.

A Royal Marines Band will process. They will play Beethoven Funeral Marches No 1, No 2 and No 3, Mendelssohn Funeral March, Chopin Funeral March and Flowers of the Forest (arr Fisher).

The Metropolitan Police Service will provide a mounted escort of 9 black horses. Five horses will ride in front of the gun carriage, 4 in a line and 1 out in front. Four horses will ride behind the gun carriage.

Procession route

The route of the Procession is:

  1. St Clement Danes Church.
  2. The Strand.
  3. Temple Bar.
  4. Fleet Street.
  5. Ludgate Circus.
  6. Ludgate Hill.
  7. St Paul’s Cathedral.

Street liners will line the route made up of personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, the Army (taken from Household Division) and the Royal Air Force. They will be supported by 3 respective service bands.

St Paul’s Cathedral

The procession will arrive at St Paul’s Cathedral and will be met by a Guard of Honour from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. The bearer party will carry the coffin into the cathedral, and out again after the service. A step lining party, comprising 18 service personnel (6 Royal Navy/Royal Marines, 6 members of the Blues and Royals, Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, and 6 Royal Air Force) plus a contingent from the Royal Hospital Chelsea, will line the West Steps of St Paul’s Cathedral for the arrival of the coffin.

Timings at St Paul’s:

  • 10.35am - the Lord Mayor of the City of London arrives at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 10.40am - members of Lady Thatcher’s family arrive at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 10.45am - choir procession within St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 10.45am - Tthe Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrive at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 10.55am - the gun carriage arrives at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 11.00am - the coffin enters St Paul’s Cathedral and the funeral service begins
  • 11.55am - the funeral service ends and the guests depart

At the end of the funeral service:

  • the bearer party will carry the Coffin to a hearse positioned at the foot of the West Steps to St Paul’s Cathedral; thereafter, the bearer party and step lining party disperse
  • the cathedral bells ring half-muffled as the hearse leaves from the bottom of the West Steps of the Cathedral for The Royal Hospital Chelsea; the Chaplain of the Royal Hospital (the Reverend Dick Whittington) will accompany the coffin
  • the Lord Mayor bids farewell to The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, who depart St Paul’s Cathedral

After the Funeral Service

There will be two receptions following the Baroness Thatcher’s funeral service:

  • the Foreign Secretary will host a reception at the Mansion House for representatives from foreign states and other distinguished foreign VIPs
  • at Guildhall there will be a reception for friends and family of Lady Thatcher and representatives of UK institutions

The Thatcher family, the Prime Minister and other senior ministers will attend both receptions:

  • after 12.10pm guests begin to arrive at Guildhall under the direction of military marshals
  • by 1.15pm the Prime Minister, senior ministers, The Lord Mayor, members of Lady Thatcher’s immediate family arrive at Guildhall from the reception at Mansion House
  • at 2.30pm the national anthem is played in each room by military musicians and the reception at Guildhall ends
  • from 2.30pm the events are private and the government’s involvement ends

The Funeral in numbers:

  • more than 2,300 guests have confirmed they will attend the service at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 32 - all of the current Cabinet Ministers and Ministers who attend Cabinet are planning to attend
  • over 50 attendees associated with the Falklands, including veterans
  • over 30 attendees from Baroness Thatcher’s Cabinets from 1979-1990
  • 2 Heads of State will attend
  • 11 serving Prime Ministers from across the globe attending
  • 17 serving Foreign Ministers from across the globe attending
  • around 170 countries will be represented by foreign dignitaries (including members of Royal Families; serving Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers; former PMs and Presidents; and Heads of Missions)
  • 11 Overseas Territories will be represented
  • 8 horses from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will be appearing in the procession - ‘Mister Twister’ is due to lead the procession
  • the Metropolitan police have confirmed over 4,000 police will be on duty
  • 6,650 online condolences received
  • 36,300 views of photos released by Downing Street of items related to Baroness Thatcher and pictures from her time as Prime Minister
  • 1.2 million views to the Prime Minister’s Facebook content following the death of Lady Thatcher
  • more than 1,800 media accredited

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