Lying in repose

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Emperor Pedro II of Brazil lying in repose in a room at the Hotel Bedford, Paris, 1891

Lying in repose is the tradition in which the body of a deceased person, often of high social stature, is made available for public viewing. Lying in repose differs from the more formal honor of lying in state, which is generally held at the principal government building of the deceased person's country and often accompanied by a guard of honour.[1]

United States[edit]

In the United States of America, "lying in state" is generally considered to be when one's body is placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.[citation needed] When the deceased person is placed in another location, like the Great Hall of the Supreme Court, they lie in repose, as was the case following the deaths of Justices Antonin Scalia in February 2016[2] and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September 2020.[3]

The remains of presidents who die in office generally lie in repose in the East Room of the White House while those of a deceased former president generally lie in repose in his home state. However, as an example to the contrary, when the body of John F. Kennedy lay in repose, the term meant "private" as opposed to a public lying in state.

The body of Babe Ruth lay in repose in Yankee Stadium.

Not everyone eligible to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda does so. For instance, the body of former President Richard Nixon lay in repose at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, Senator Edward Kennedy's body lay in repose at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, and Senator Robert Byrd's body lay in repose in the Senate chamber at the Capitol.[4]


In Canada, when deceased governors general and prime ministers lie anywhere outside of the Centre Block of Parliament Hill, they lie in repose.[citation needed] In the Hall of Honour, the Senate, or the foyer of the House of Commons, they lie in state.

At the provincial, territorial or local levels, current and former politicians may lie in state or repose in government buildings.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lying in Repose/Lying in State". The United States Army. Archived from the original on 3 August 2010.
  2. ^ Fandos, Nicholas (16 February 2016). "Scalia to Lie in Repose at Supreme Court, With Funeral on Saturday". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 February 2016. Correction: February 17, 2016 A headline with an earlier version of this article incorrectly described how Justice Antonin Scalia's body will be displayed for public viewing in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court. He will lie in repose; he will not lie in state.
  3. ^ Mascaro, Lisa (25 September 2020). "Ginsburg makes history at Capitol amid replacement turmoil". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid their respects on Thursday as Ginsburg had lain in repose for two days at the Supreme Court, and thousands of people waited outside.
  4. ^ "Schedule for Memorial Services Honoring Senator Robert C. Byrd". WSAZ. 30 June 2010. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010.

External links[edit]