What is the lie in state, the solemn tradition that is part of Queen Elizabeth’s last voyage?


Thousands of mourners will be allowed to pay their last respects to Queen Elizabeth II from Wednesday until the day of her funeral next Monday. During this period, the queen’s coffin will be in state at Westminster Hall. Those wishing to visit have been warned of mile-long queues and strict airport-like security measures. Visitors, meanwhile, will be allowed 24 hours a day.

What is the meaning of lie in state?

Lying in state is a term used to describe a formal and solemn occasion in which the casket of a deceased person is laid out in a main government building for the public to pay their respects before the last rites. The body, depending on local customs, may be placed inside or outside the coffin.

According to the UK Parliament website, lying in state in the UK is granted to the “sovereign, as head of state, current or past queen consort and sometimes former prime ministers”.

After her death in 2002, the Queen Mother remained in state for three days. The tradition of state lying in the UK dates back to the Stuart dynasty that ruled England and Scotland in the 17th century.

In the United States, lying in state is granted to the president or, occasionally, another high official or military leader. The casket bearing the body of the deceased is placed inside the United States Capitol or a state capitol.

About the status in the United States Capitol, the decision is made by a concurrent resolution of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. US states have their own customs and rules for making this decision.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan U.S. organization that serves the members and staff of state legislatures across the country, “(in the United States) the practice of lying in the state began in 1852 when Henry Clay, a Kentucky senator was the first person to lie in state on the US Capitol.

Abraham Lincoln was the first President of the United States to stand in the United States Capitol.

A deceased pope usually rests in state inside the chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

What ‘lying in state’ protocol does India follow?

India grants ‘State Funerals’ to deceased dignitaries such as the incumbent President, Prime Minister, a former Prime Minister, President or Governor among others with the Center having the power to announce it for any person he deems worthy of this honor. Lying in state is observed during the run-up to state funerals, which also have protocols that involve observance of “days of mourning” with the flag at half mast and no formal entertainment.

The Home Office guidelines state that a state funeral will be given to any dignitary by order of the Indian government.

“Before funeral arrangements are made and after customary/religious rituals have been performed, the body will be displayed to allow for final respects to be paid to the deceased. In the event of the president’s death, a vigil composed of the senior officers of the three services up to the rank of brigadier and equivalent will be on guard while the body is in state,” according to the guidelines.

General disposition instructions state that the body should be placed in open ground or a large veranda on a raised mound or platform; the path for mourners should be wide enough to allow 4-5 people to walk abreast.

In addition, the pretrial period may be as long as religious and other considerations permit.

After Mahatma Gandhi’s death, his body lay in state at Birla House, while Indira Gandhi’s body was kept at Teen Murti and Atal Bihari Vajpaye lay in state at BJP headquarters.

What is rest/rest?

In the UK, when the senior official’s coffin is laid out in a place that is not the main government building intended for lying in state, it is called lying at rest or lying at rest. It is so called because the setting is considered less formal.

In Canada, for example, when a deceased dignitary – Governors General or Prime Ministers – rests anywhere outside the Center Block of Parliament Hill, it is referred to as a resting place.

On Monday, the Queen’s coffin lay in Edinburgh’s St. Giles Cathedral, where thousands lined up to pay their last respects.

In the United States, another term – lie in honor – is used instead of lie in state if the person receiving the honor is not an elected official, but is considered to have made significant contributions to America.

How will the Queen’s coffin be in condition?

In Westminster Hall, the Queen’s closed coffin will rest on a raised and ornate platform called a catafalque. It will be draped with the Royal Standard – a flag that “represents the Sovereign and the United Kingdom” and will fly over royal palaces, the monarch’s car or plane. During the rest period, the catafalque will be flanked by a 24-hour military guard. The guard is made up of the Sovereign’s Bodyguard, Foot Guards or the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.


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