Queen Elizabeth death: Francis Tipene of Casketeers TV show offers to help at royal funeral

Well-known Kiwi funeral director Francis Tipene has offered his services to the royal family to help at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral next week. 

He is best known for his role as part of TVNZ's reality television series The Casketeers, which is based around Tipene and his wife, who own and run Tipene Funerals and talk about handling grief.  

Tipene took to Instagram to post the letter he sent to King Charles to offer the royal family his services. 

"Firstly, my sincere condolences to you and your whānau (family) at this time of great loss. I am a qualified funeral director based in Auckland of Aotearoa, New Zealand," Tipene wrote on Instagram.  

"My wife, Kaiora and I are internationally renowned for the funeral services we provide through the show known as, The Casketeers. I wish to be part of Her Majesty’s final funeral procession on behalf of my Māori people and my country." 

Tipene said he arrives in London on Friday and will await the "necessary instructions" in preparation for the funeral procession.

"Over the years, I have witnessed the aroha (love) Her Majesty, The Queen has for our country. Therefore, it is only fitting that I propose this request," he wrote. 

"It will be an honour to serve The Royal Family. Please accept this as an act of kindness from me and my people for Her Majesty’s final day."

His wife, Kaiora Tipene, will join him in London and hopes to be a part of the procession as well. 

"We are mindful that there are traditions within the monarchy, so we are going in with an open mind but there is no harm in trying to be a part of it," Kaiora told NZ Herald.

Royal officials confirmed on Sunday the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth will be held on Monday, September 19 (local time) at Westminster Abbey at 1000 GMT. 

The Queen's coffin is currently at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland before it's flown to London on Tuesday (local time) where it will remain at Buckingham Palace before being taken to Westminster Hall to lie-in-state until the funeral.