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UK didn’t cancel all funerals on same day as queen’s service

Not Real News

Guards escort the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Wednesday. On Friday, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming all funeral services in the U.K. have been canceled on Sept. 19, the day Queen Elizabeth II is set to be buried. 

CLAIM: All funeral services in the U.K. have been canceled on Sept. 19, the day Queen Elizabeth II is set to be buried.

THE FACTS: While some families are opting to postpone or reschedule services set for the day of the queen’s funeral, Sept. 19, there has been no countrywide cancellation order for private funerals on that day. Following the announcement that Monday would be observed as a public holiday in the U.K. to commemorate the queen’s burial, some social media users shared the inaccurate claim that all coinciding funerals would be canceled in deference to Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

“Omg so all funerals due on the 19 th have been cancelled !My heartfelt sympathy with all those bereft families involved,” one Twitter user declared, receiving more than 22,000 likes and nearly 4,000 shares. But this isn’t the case. No blanket cancellation orders have been issued to cover funerals scheduled for the day, according to representatives from three of England’s funeral and crematorial industry groups.

“There is no truth in this coverage,” Brendan Day, secretary of the U.K.’s Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, wrote in an email to the AP. “The advice being circulated is that all funerals booked for the 19th September proceed as arranged.”

Terry Tennens, chief executive of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, and Deborah Smith, a spokesperson for the National Association of Funeral Directors, both confirmed that there was no countrywide call for cancellations. Tennens called the situation a “mixed picture” and added that he knew of two local authorities that opted to close their crematoriums that day, but also noted that crematoriums operated by authorities in at least five other localities would remain open, as would cemeteries and crematoriums run by private operators.

“Some funerals will go ahead, others are moving to a different date - led by the needs & wishes of the bereaved families involved and in consultation with their chosen funeral venue,” Smith wrote in an email.

The government on Saturday announced that Sept. 19 would be deemed a national bank holiday “to allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to pay their respects to Her Majesty and commemorate Her reign” on the day of her state funeral.

Time off is not mandated for bank holidays and “the government cannot interfere in existing contractual arrangements between employers and workers,” according to the guidance.

Tanya Khan, a spokesperson for the U.K. government’s Cabinet Office, confirmed that organizations and businesses are “under no obligation” to close offices or otherwise cancel or postpone events, and that those decisions were at the discretion of employers. The queen died at Balmoral Estate, her summer residence in Scotland, on Thursday at age 96, ending her 70-year reign.

— Associated Press writer Sophia Tulp in New York contributed this report.

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