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A member of the King's Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms stand guard around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II
The Only People Outside The British Royal Family Given State Funerals
History - Science
State funerals in the U.K. are typically reserved for royalty. In recent years, state funerals have been given for Prince Philip, the queen's husband, and the Queen Mother.
However, throughout British history, a handful of well-respected public figures not of royal descent have also been given the honor of a state funeral. Here’s the complete list.
Admiral Robert Blake, a highly respected naval commander, was given a burial fit for a king at a time when Britain didn't, in fact, have a monarch.
Blake, who led the British Navy during the First Dutch War, was buried in Westminster Abbey until King Charles II had him reburied in the nearby St. Margaret's Church.
British scientists Sir Isaac Newton, who also served his country as warden of the Royal Mint, was buried at Westminster Abbey, where numerous memorials commemorated him.
Before the burial, Newton’s body was visited by prominent noblemen, fellow scientists, and colleagues from the Royal Society while it lay at Westminster Hall.
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, one of the greatest naval commanders, commanded the Royal Navy during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.
Demand for attendance at Nelson's funeral and burial at St. Paul's Cathedral was so high, particularly among members of the British military, that the event had to be ticketed.
Arthur Wellesley, known for his role as military commander in the Battle of Waterloo, was honored with a lavish memorial ceremony on Queen Victoria’s demand.
During the period of national mourning, Wellington's body lay in state at Chelsea Hospital in the days before his funeral and burial at St. Paul's Cathedral.