Two thousand seats in Westminster Abbey during Queen Elizabeth’s funeral: who sat where?

Two thousand seats were provided in Westminster Abbey for Elizabeth II’s funeral. Next to the coffin there was room for the British royal family and their European colleagues. Heads of government of Commonwealth nations were also given a prominent place and former British ministers, including Boris Johnson and Theresa May, were all placed side by side.

Other world leaders, including Abdullah II of Jordan and the Japanese Emperor Naruhito and his wife Masako, had to content themselves with a seat slightly further back.

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Biden in the back

That was also the case for US President . A transport exception was made for him – unlike other heads of state he was allowed to arrive in his own armored limo – but that did not guarantee him a better seat in the church. The US president was placed in the fourteenth row behind Polish President Andrzej Duda and ahead of Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala. Swiss head of state Ignazio Cassis sat next to First Lady Jill. Biden is said to have been placed so far back because it gave precedence to Commonwealth leaders.

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US President Joe Biden was seated at the very back of the church. — © AFP

Prince Harry and Meghan

The seats of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are also easy to talk about in the United Kingdom. The couple were placed in the second row, behind King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla. According to British tabloids, the front row was reserved for working royals within the British royal family, a status Prince Harry has given up.

It is striking that next to Crown and his wife Kate were the children of Princess Anne, Peter Philips and Zara Tindall. Nor are they working royals. The tabloids therefore speculate that Harry and Meghan were deliberately pushed back a row. Although they were closer to the king and the coffin.

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Prince Andrew and Fergie

Another notable appearance is Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of Prince Andrew. Fergie, as the mother of Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice is called, officially divorced Andrew in 1996 and later made the front pages of the tabloids several times. Ferguson, who still bears the title Duchess of York, was seated in the second row behind Kate Middleton and between her daughter Eugenie and David Armstrong-Jones, the only son of British Princess Margaret. Her former husband Andrew sat between his siblings in the front row across the aisle.

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Spanish King for King Philip

And then there are the seats of our own royal couple, King Filip and Queen Mathilde. All European royals were placed right in front of the British royal family, but the order is striking. Normally, the order in which a king or queen took office is taken into account. As a result, the Danish Queen Margrethe and Crown Prince Frederik were the first to sit. With the death of Queen Elizabeth, Queen Margrethe is now the longest-reigning European monarch.

Sweden’s King Carl and his wife Queen Silvia took their seats next to the Danes. They were followed by the Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. Willem-Alexander, just like our king, took his place on the throne in 2013, but because the former Dutch Queen Beatrix was also there, they probably received priority.

The same principle was presumably applied for the second row. There sat the Spanish King Felipe and Queen Letizia. Felipe only became king of Spain in 2014, but his father, former king Juan Carlos, had come to London with him. Next to them sat the Norwegian King Harald and Queen Sonja.

In the third row, our royal couple was seated next to Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg and Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco.


The article is in Dutch

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