View all 262 updates ›

The difference between a state and ceremonial funeral

In a ceremonial funeral the gun carriage is pulled by horses, in a state funeral it is pulled by sailors Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Baroness Thatcher is being given a ceremonial funeral with military honours today, not a state funeral.

The differences between both are very simple says Historian Dr Sarah Richardson at the University of Warwick.

"A ceremonial funeral is more for those who are in the 'second tier down' and it only has to be agreed by the Queen.

"A state funeral has to be debated and agreed in Parliament"

Dr Sarah Richardson said the other main difference between the two is how the gun carriage is pulled.

In a state funeral the gun carriage is pulled by sailors whereas in a ceremonial funeral, which is what Lady Thatcher will be given today, the carriage is pulled by horses.

"It is quite a recent phenomenon for ceremonial funerals to be given, a trend of the 20th Century. Princess Diana and the Queen Mother both received ceremonial funerals. It was created for when there was a need for public celebration". - Dr Sarah Richardson

More on this story