On Wednesday, Elizabeth II set off to lie-in-state at a very particular hour.
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When the Queen left Buckingham Palace for the last time on Wednesday, she set off at exactly 2:22 p.m. to arrive at Westminster Hall at 3 p.m. to lie-in-state before her funeral on Monday.
There has been some speculation in the press as to why the time is unusual. And while Buckingham Palace spokespeople have not commented, different royal experts have come up with some possibilities as to why the time was 2:22.
The Queen’s platinum jubilee started in February of this year, so 2/22 would correlate exactly with the time of departure. Her 70-year reign made her the longest reigning monarch in Europe, so this time could be a direct nod to all those years of service.
To honor the Queen’s father
Some people have speculated that the numbers correspond with the bells that tolled at Windsor on the death of King George VI, the late Queen’s father. Tradition has it that the bells rings once for each year of the deceased sovereign’s life. As George VI died at 56, the bells started ringing at 1:27 p.m. and finished at 2:22 p.m.
The death of Jesus
Some scholars believe that Christ died on the cross at 3 p.m. The Queen was known for her deep faith, and in particular, for professing that she leaned on Jesus Christ. By setting off at 2:22 p.m., she was sure to arrive at Westminster Hall at 3 p.m., coinciding with Christ’s hour of death. This agrees with other experts who were quoted saying that it was the arrival time that was significant, and a 2:22 p.m. departure time had been determined to provide the precise travel schedule.
While we will probably never know the exact reason behind the chosen time, nothing is ever left to chance when it comes to royal organization. It is this attention to detail that can inspire us in our own day-to-day activities, encouraging us to be aware of our environment, the message we want to send, and the legacy we want to leave behind.