The Queen’s Funeral: Preparing Children and Young People

The Queen’s Funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19 September, 11am. Many families will be given time off school and work to observe the Day of National Mourning, and watch the funeral on the television.
Some children may benefit from talking to their families and carers in advance of the funeral, to help them prepare for the event. Even if they choose not to watch it, they are very likely to see images and clips of the funeral through various media.
While the funeral may seem very different, children and young people are likely to be reminded of previous funeral services that they’ve attended, and that may bring up difficult memories.
Children may feel a mixture of emotions before, during and after the funeral, and it’s important to reassure them that this is normal. They will probably see a mix of emotions from others during the funeral too. They will see lots of sad people crying, but there may also be lighter moments when a funny story or memory is shared. Children may find it helpful to see that adults can have a range of feelings when someone has died, just as they may have themselves. If the experience becomes overwhelming, then it’s ok to switch off for a while so that children can take a break if they need it.
Children may have lots of questions about the funeral, and it might be that we don’t always have the answers for them. It is best to be honest in these situations and say if you don’t know. Maybe you can find out the answer together? Particularly at a state funeral, there may be procedures and elements of the ceremony that are historically informed and don’t occur at other funerals.
After the funeral, it’s important to speak to children about how they’re feeling and whether they want to talk about anything they’ve experienced.
Some children might find it helpful to engage in an activity that helps them to write down their memories of the Queen. We have lots of free activity and resource sheets, such as our memory bricks, which can be downloaded via our Resources and Activities section of our website.
Parents, carers and professionals may find it helpful to read out ‘At a time of bereavement’ booklet which can be downloaded here, before having discussions with children and young people about death.