On Monday, Sept. 19, at 11 am BST, it’s been forecast that 4.1 billion people — more than half of the global population — will watch the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen died on Sept. 8 after becoming the longest-serving monarch in the history of the United Kingdom, and one of the world’s most well-known, and well-liked (although not universally liked), celebrities.
It’s no secret that the UK government formulated a comprehensive plan for this eventuality years in advance, and named it “Operation London Bridge.” The project, which is still being rolled out, began with the orderly announcement of Elizabeth II’s death, then culminates in her carefully orchestrated state funeral, and also includes broadcast instructions.
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In short, as this funeral unfolds, we’ll see Operation London Bridge play out in full. Here’s how to tune in, wherever you are, so you can grieve if that’s how you feel, or simply bear witness to this unique moment in history.
How to watch the Queen lie in state
In the lead-up to the funeral, the Queen is lying in state in London’s Westminster Hall, and mourners may file past and pay their respects, assuming they’re willing and able to line up in the ultimate queue — a 22-hour wait involving a five mile walk, as of this writing. Anyone, however, can livestream this part of the national grieving process on the BBC News YouTube channel.
How to watch the Queen’s funeral on American television
A procession will carry the casket to Westminster Abbey starting at 10:44 am BST (5:44 am EST), so for those who don’t want to miss any important part of the event, that’s the best time to tune in.
Unlike a sporting event, no US network has secured exclusive broadcast rights. According to The Sun, the funeral will air live on NBC, CNN, ABC, and Fox News. If you have an antenna, or subscribe to pay TV, turn your TV on at 5:44 am ET, find one of these channels, and the funeral will be there.
How to watch the Queen’s funeral on UK television
It will air on The BBC, and ITV, along with Sky News in the UK.
How to stream the Queen’s funeral online
For those without pay TV or an antenna, officially announced livestreams of the funeral include BBC iPlayer in the UK, and in the US, a live stream on the CNN website that will not require users to log in through a cable provider.
There will also undoubtedly be YouTube live streams, some of which may not be announced until Monday. These can be found by performing a search for “Queen’s funeral,” clicking “Filters,” and then clicking “Live” under “FEATURES.” It stands to reason that reliable news outlets like the BBC that hosted live streams of the Queen lying in state will most likely also livestream the funeral itself.
How to watch the Queen’s funeral in London
The funeral ceremony will be conducted at Westminster Abbey, with, according to the Washington Postas many as 70 heads of state in attendance, two million members of the public lining the streets, and 10,000 police officers and some unknown number of private security agents standing guard — not to mention snipers on top of buildings, drones buzzing around, trained dogs sniffing for bombs, and undercover officers mingling with the crowds.
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If you’re not comfortable lining the sidewalks near Westminster Abbey while the funeral goes on inside, one good way to “attend” the funeral with other Londoners, assuming you’re not invited, will be to find a movie theater. Most of the movie theaters in the UK will be closed, and many will be showing the funeral. You can also join the crowd at Hyde Park near Buckingham Palace, where there will be a giant screen playing the funeral. Most sources suggest other parks and public places will show the funeral on big screens as well, but those have not yet been announced.
The funeral ceremony will last an hour, and will conclude with the playing of the bugle composition “Last Post,” followed by the national observance of two minutes of silence. The evening following the funeral, a private service for the Royal Family will be held at Windsor Castle outside of London, after which the Queen will be laid to rest inside St. George’s Chapel, the church on the castle grounds.