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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 7: Queen Elizabeth II attends a State Dinner at the White House on the fifth day of her USA tour on May 7, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Why Queen Elizabeth II’s Catafalque Holds Great Significance
History - Science
Queen Elizabeth II’s death on September 8, at the age of 96, has precipitated a celebration of her life and legacy, full of pomp and circumstance truly fit for the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Part of that celebration involves something called a catafalque — a raised platform on which the coffin of a noteworthy person is placed so that the public can better view it.
In the case of the queen, the catafalque is playing a role in enabling the public to view her coffin during the lying-in-state period, which began on September 14 and will continue until her funeral on September 19. The queen's coffin — now on the catafalque — rests in the exact same spot as her father's, grandfather's, and great-grandfather's coffins.
In fact, before being placed on the catafalque by eight pallbearers, the late monarch’s coffin was borne by the same horse-drawn carriage that carried her father's remains. The catafalque was seen draped in purple, with four yellow candles, one at each corner, as the first vigil — carried out by four Household Cavalry officers — took place.