Who is David Hoyle? Dean of Westminster calls scale of Queen's funeral 'unprecedented'

Royal aides and volunteers have been involved in the preparations inside the church, working tirelessly to ensure the historic ceremony is a success 

Who is David Hoyle? Dean of Westminster calls scale of Queen's funeral 'unprecedented'
The Queen's funeral is being led by the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle (inset) (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images, Westminster Abbey)
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LONDON, ENGLAND: The Dean of Westminster has said the Queen's state funeral will commemorate the late monarch with the personal sorrow of a grieving royal family at its heart.

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The somber ceremony is being led by the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who said the scale of the service on Monday, September 19, was nearly unprecedented, even for Westminster Abbey, which has etched a number of royal milestones throughout history. It's worth noting that royal aides and volunteers have been involved in the preparations inside the church, working tirelessly to ensure the historic ceremony is a success. 

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Who is David Hoyle?

Born in 1957 in Lancashire, Hoyle studied history and theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980. In 1986, he was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon, and as a priest the following year. Hoyle became the 39th Dean of Westminster in 2019 following the retirement of John Hall, and has since been responsible for overseeing the spiritual side of Westminster Abbey. He has previously worked as chaplain and fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge; vicar of Christ Church, Southgate; and director of ministry and canon residentiary at Gloucester Cathedral. He was also the Dean of Bristol, according to the BBC.

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At least 2,000 VIPs were invited to the abbey, with presidents, prime ministers, kings, and queens among dignitaries traveling across the globe to be there as the events are broadcasted live to billions. "The business about it being a state funeral is really important. It's meant to be visual. It's meant to be grand," Hoyle told the BBC, "We're supposed to be reminding ourselves of this extraordinary woman who so often took us down through the register, gave us herself, her character." He noted, "Part of this is about remembering her significance, her place in history, her place in the nation and Commonwealth. But it's a funeral. It's for a grieving family. That's really important, personal sorrow at the heart of this." 

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The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top is carried by the Bearer Party into Westminster Abbey during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top is carried by the Bearer Party into Westminster Abbey during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022, in London, England (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The Dean, who described the Queen's funeral as a service of "grief, thanksgiving, and hope," admitted there had been "some challenging moments" and changes required, especially considering the long-held London Bridge plans for the aftermath of the Queen's death finally came into play. "As you work it through, there come moments where you have to recognize no, that doesn't work in the way we thought it would," he explained. "There have been some challenging moments where we've had to adapt. There are some people who are working 19-hour days, 20-hour days at the moment, and one of the striking things is just how good they have been, when they're very tired and been positive and making adaptions happen."

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Dean of Westminster David Hoyle and Sub-Dean and Canon Treasurer David Stanton attend the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on September 19, 2022 in London, England.  Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.
Dean of Westminster David Hoyle and Sub-Dean and Canon Treasurer David Stanton attend the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on September 19, 2022, in London, England (Photo by Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

 

Hoyle also revealed how the flowers meant to decorate the abbey for the ceremony were rejected after reportedly failing to pass the stringent security checks. "There was a wonderful moment when I had flower arrangers waiting in the abbey, and no flowers, because, quite properly, the police didn't recognize what the van was and the flowers were sent back," he said. The Dean said it was a "huge privilege" to be leading the service. "There's a sense of responsibility that goes with it and just now and again, there's a sort of sense of panic, but this place is good at what we do so we'll be fine," he added.

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The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top is carried by the Bearer Party into Westminster Abbey during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top is carried by the Bearer Party into Westminster Abbey during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022, in London, England (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

It's worth noting that the Queen had a close connection with the historic abbey, which is reportedly a Royal Peculiar and subject only to the monarch and not any archbishop or bishop. "For an awful lot of my colleagues, this is really quite personal," Hoyle said. "We welcomed Her Late Majesty a number of times. So a lot of my colleagues know her, respect her, admire her, and miss her now. So there's something about doing something for her."

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The Dean chimed in on the late sovereign's deep connection with the abbey, noting that it was where she made the "promises that defined her life" -- including tying the knot with Prince Philip and being crowned Queen. "I was really moved by the fact that she would talk about how important the abbey was to her," he recalled. "This is the place where she made promises that defined her life. This is the place where she married the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, this is the place of her coronation."

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Thanksgiving Service for the Duke Of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey on March 29, 2022 in London, England.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Thanksgiving Service for the Duke Of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey on March 29, 2022, in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II's funeral is reportedly the first of a reigning king or queen to be held in the abbey since George II's back in 1760. The Dean was reportedly speaking in the abbey's historic wood-paneled Jerusalem Chamber, where Henry IV died in 1413 and Henry V became king, according to the Daily Mail.

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