I did not anticipate some observations on class today. The Queens coffin is resting on a purple catafalque- a decorated wooden structure supporting the coffin of a distinguished person.
When we took over the mortuary, prior to renovating the space, we had a very similar catafalque, same colour everything. But of course the good people of St Stephens in Cornwall were not distinguished so their coffins rested on a bier!
Some sources say the two words are synonyms with no mention of any distinguished differences.
The bier or catafalque of St Stephens held a secret. Beneath its purple drapes there was an old chest of drawers with a door nailed on top.
What lies beneath the purple drapes of the catafalque in Westminster Hall is likely to remain a mystery to those of us not involved in distinguished funerals. It is unlikely to be an old door and a chest of drawers, but you never know.