Queen Elizabeth's Personal Staff 'Are Devastated': 'It Was Still a Terrible Shock,' Says Source

·2 min read
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Queen Elizabeth II

As the world mourns Queen Elizabeth, her closest circle is especially heartbroken.

On September 8, Buckingham Palace announced that the monarch "peacefully" died at age 96 at her beloved Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Now, her loyal personal staff "are devastated," a close source tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story.

"They are incandescent with grief," the insider says. "However much you are prepared for it, after a lifetime of service, it was still a terrible shock."

Many team members worked for the Queen for years and will have the chance to pay their respects at her committal service on Monday.

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Queen Elizabeth II smiles during a visit to officially open the new building at Thames Hospice
Queen Elizabeth II smiles during a visit to officially open the new building at Thames Hospice

Kirsty O'Connor-WPA Pool/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth II Visits Thames Hospice - July 2022

The somber day begins with a state funeral at Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m., in an hour-long service attended by over 2,000 diplomats, dignitaries and royal family members. From there, the coffin will process on State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy to the Wellington Arch in Hyde Park, where it will be loaded into the State Hearse and driven an hour west to Windsor Castle.

Around 4 p.m., King Charles IIIQueen Camilla and the rest of the family will fill the pews of St. George's Chapel for a committal service. More than 800 people are expected to attend, though the event will have a more intimate feel than the state funeral.

The guests present at Westminster Abbey will not follow for the ceremony at Windsor — instead, the Queen's personal staff and those who worked on her estates will be at the smaller ceremony.

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown and pulled by a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown and pulled by a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery

DANIEL LEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Queen Elizabeth's coffin

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In one touching tribute, Queen Elizabeth's personal piper will also play a lament in her honor. When the service wraps, the Queen's family members will retire to Windsor Castle for a quiet reception.

The ceremonies end around 7:30 p.m., when Queen Elizabeth is privately interred in St. George's Chapel.

She will be buried beside Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years, and near her sister, Princess Margaret, and her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.