Queen’s body lies in state after service of blessing

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby pronounces the blessing.

By Solange De Santis

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin arrived on Sept. 14 at Westminster Hall in London to lie in state for four days before the Sept. 19 state funeral at nearby Westminster Abbey.

The procession, with the casket borne on a gun carriage as Big Ben tolled, proceeded from Buckingham Palace to Westminster before crowds of mourners on a sunny afternoon.

After the casket was placed on a catafalque in the ancient hall built by King William II in 1097, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby read from the Gospel of John, chapter 14. 

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go, ye know and the way ye know,” Welby read.

Pronouncing a blessing, Welby said, “Oh God, the maker and redeemer of all mankind, grant us with thy servant Queen Elizabeth and all the faithful departed, the sure benefits of thy son’s saving passion and glorious resurrection, that in the last day when all things are gathered up in Christ, we may with them enjoy the fullness of thy promises through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Welby led the mourners, including King Charles III and members of the Royal Family, in the Lord’s Prayer.

A team of multifaith chaplains will be available to offer pastoral support to the hundreds of thousands of people who are expected to line up to pay their respects to the late queen as she lies in state, reports Church Times.

In 2002, about 200,000 people filed past the late Queen Mother as she lay in state for three days before her funeral in Westminster Abbey. Far greater numbers — as many as one million people — are believed to want to attend the lying-in-state this week, according to Church Times.