The last state funeral for a non-royal was that of Winston Churchill in January 1965.
Churchill is among a small number of British prime ministers who are given state funerals usually reserved for the monarchy.
For a state funeral for a so-called “common”, it requires the consent of both the parliament and the monarch.
in a letter Allowing the use of both Westminster Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral for funerals in 1965, Queen Elizabeth II described the wartime leader as a “national hero” who was a “motivator in our hours of greatest danger”. He was the leader who strengthened and inspired us all.”
He wrote, “People should have the opportunity to express their sorrow in the memory of the outstanding man who served his country continuously for more than fifty years in war and in peace.”
Churchill’s funeral took place on 30 January 1965 and was broadcast live by the BBC. According to the broadcaster, he was the first non-royal politician to go to a state funeral in the 20th century.
The funeral procession passed from Westminster Hall, where Churchill’s body was laid, to St Paul’s Cathedral, where the funeral was held. His coffin was placed on a gun carriage pulled by the Royal Naval Gun Crew.
After the funeral, the procession went along the River Thames and finally by train to the village of Bladon in Oxfordshire where Churchill was buried near Blenheim Palace, his birthplace.
His funeral was attended by heads of state and leaders from around the world, including Queen Elizabeth II.
Churchill was the Queen’s first prime minister. Fourteen others would go on to serve under her, the last being Liz Truss who was formally appointed by the Queen as prime minister two days before her death on 6 September.
Despite Churchill being buried in Oxfordshire, a green marble memorial stone was unveiled by the Queen later that year inside the west entrance of Westminster Abbey.
inscription reads: “Remember Winston Churchill, by the will of the Queen and Parliament, the Dean and Chapter laid this stone on 15 September 1965, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /