Royal families, world leaders and friends of the Queen have begun their travels from around the world and will gather in London on Monday for the state funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The dark event marks the first royal state funeral since 1952, for the queen’s father, King George VI. The last took place in 1965, when one was held for Winston Churchill.
Joining the British royal family in paying homage will be a host of international guests ready to take flight for what should be the UK’s largest ceremonial procession. King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain will join Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan along with other royals from across Europe representing Monaco, Denmark, Norway, Greece, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Heads of state, from Joe Biden to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron, will join the ranks of former UK prime ministers who have confirmed their presence. They will also be joined by the recipients of the Victoria Cross or George Cross, also invited.
As expected, there are dress codes in place and high expectations for all attendees to achieve the correct sartorial tone.
Debretts, the etiquette and behavior publisher founded in 1769, has a dedicated section of the website detailing what is to be expected.
“Custom dictates that the royal family adhere to a strict dress code at state funerals. An all-black dress code is always respected “, it reads.
“Women wear black knee-length dresses, or coats, black hats and can even wear veils that cover the face.” Catherine, the new princess of Wales, demonstrated the elegantly awaited style at the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in April 2021.
“Traditionally, gentlemen wear military robes or, as was the case at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, black mourning coats with medals.”
The latter has been a point of contention regarding Prince Harry and Prince Andrew, both of whom are no longer working royals and therefore should not be allowed to participate in military attire.
An exception was made for the Duke of York, however, who was allowed to wear military uniform during the lying vigil as a “special sign of respect”. The Duke of Sussex has no and will wear civilian clothes.