Britain bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday at a historic state funeral attended by world leaders, before a ceremonial journey among hundreds of thousands of mourners to her final resting place.
Huge crowds gathered in London to watch as the queen’s flag-draped coffin topped with the Imperial State Crown, her orb and scepter, was slowly carried onto a carriage of arms from Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where he had remained in state since Wednesday.
To the sound of pipes and drums, 142 Royal Navy junior sailors pulled the gun carriage, used at every state funeral since Queen Victoria’s in 1901, to Westminster Abbey.
The millennial church’s tenor bell rang 96 times at one-minute intervals, once for each year of his life, stopping one minute before the service began at 11:00 a.m. (10:00 GMT).
In his funeral sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the Queen’s life of service and service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
“People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are even rarer,” he told the 2,000 guests, who included US President Joe Biden and Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
The coffin was then carried, to the sound of funeral marches, on a three-hour journey through the streets of London to Windsor Castle, west of the capital.
Along the route, a sea of weapons rose high, clutching mobile phones, to record the choreographed display of military precision.
The last chants of “God save the queen” were heard as spectators scattered flowers along the path and church bells rang in the distance.
A private burial was held at King George VI Memorial Chapel on Monday night, led by the Dean of Windsor, the royal family’s official website said.
“The queen was buried alongside the Duke of Edinburgh,” a statement said, referring to her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died last year.
Army veteran Robert MacDonald, 48, was among the dense crowd lining the three-mile (five kilometer) Long Walk that led to Windsor Castle.
“I was in the infantry for 26 years, so the queen was my boss,” he said, adding that he wanted to “give one last salute as the hearse passed by.”
On the Long Walk, the military cortege passed the late queen’s Fell pony, Carltonlima Emma, standing without a rider. She was greeted at the castle by her last two corgi dogs, Muick and Sandy.
The queen, the longest-serving monarch in British history, died at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland retreat, on September 8 after a year of failing health.
His eldest son and successor, King Charles III, dressed in ceremonial military uniform, followed the solemn processions in London, along with his three brothers.
They were accompanied by Charles’ eldest son Prince William, William’s estranged brother Prince Harry and other royals.
William’s two eldest children, nine-year-old George and seven-year-old Charlotte, also walked behind the coffin at Westminster Abbey.
On Sunday night, Charles, 73, and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, 75, said they were “deeply moved” by the outpouring of messages from the public.
“I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you,” said Charles.
Britain, a country much changed since the queen’s coronation at the same abbey in 1953, has delved into its centuries of tradition to honor the only monarch most of its people have ever known.
– ‘Moment in history’ –
“It’s once in a lifetime,” said student Naomi Thompson, 22, camped out in the crowd in London’s Hyde Park.
John MacKinnon, a 49-year-old insurance broker from London, added: “The ceremony was perfect in every way.
“Very spectacular, as it should be for a great queen.”
Others who couldn’t make it to London gathered at cinemas and churches in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to watch the service and procession on giant screens.
Automotive engineer Jamie Page, a 41-year-old former soldier, stood in Whitehall to watch the funeral procession, wearing his military medals from the Iraq War.
“She means everything, it was like a gift from God,” he said.
The funeral, watched by the silent crowd, lasted just under an hour.
It ended with the trumpeters playing “The Last Post,” a two-minute silence in memory of the queen, and the reworded national anthem, “God Save the King.”
Oscar-winning actor and Royal Shakespeare Company veteran Kenneth Branagh was in attendance, telling AFP it was “very solemn and done with great compassion”.
“The music was so beautiful. It felt beautifully judged and respectful and sensitive,” she said.
– Driven to Windsor –
The long procession passed Downing Street, the government buildings in Whitehall, through Horse Guards Parade and down The Mall, the tree-lined avenue leading to Buckingham Palace adorned in red, white and blue.
At nearby Wellington Arch, 6,000 members of the armed forces who had hypnotically marched in unison halted and the coffin was transferred to the royal hearse.
Charles saluted and the national anthem was played again as the hearse headed for Windsor Castle.
The queen was buried alongside her father, King George VI, her mother, Queen Elizabeth, and her sister, Princess Margaret, reuniting the family that once called themselves “the four of us” at their death.
The coffin of her husband Philip, who died last year at the age of 99, was moved to rest next to her.
Elizabeth’s funeral could not be more different from Philip’s at St George’s Chapel, Windsor in April 2021.
Coronavirus restrictions limited mourners to just 30, led by the queen, a lone figure in black mourning and a matching face mask.
In contrast, on Monday, the abbey was packed with dignitaries and some ordinary Britons who were honored for their military or community service, especially during the covid-19 pandemic.
“You were lucky to have had her for 70 years; we all were,” Biden said Sunday after signing a book of condolences. “The world is better for her.”
In the pews of the abbey was Liz Truss, whom the Queen appointed as the 15th British Prime Minister of her reign just two days before her death, on her last major ceremonial duty.
All of Truss’s living predecessors were there, as well as their counterparts and representatives from the 14 Commonwealth countries outside Britain, where Charles is also head of state.
Whether they remain constitutional monarchies or become republics is likely to be the defining characteristic of Charles’ reign.
– Royal Vault –
The queen’s death has prompted deep reflection on the Britain she reigned over, the legacy of her past, her current status and what the future might hold, as well as the values of service and lifelong duty that came to represent.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people queued, sometimes for up to 25 hours and overnight, to parade past the queen’s coffin as she lay in state.
Chrissy Heerey, a Royal Air Force service member who joined the marathon queue twice, was the last person through the gates on Monday morning, describing the experience as “unbelievable”.
Throughout the procession after the funeral, Big Ben, the giant bell atop the Elizabeth Tower at one end of the Houses of Parliament, rang and military weapons fired at minute intervals.
In Windsor, the bell of Sevastopol, captured in the Crimea in 1856, and the bell of the curfew tower also rang.
A large television audience watched the funeral around the world and online, in a sign of the enduring fascination with the woman once described as “the world’s last monarch”.
At Windsor, the queen’s crown, orb, and scepter were removed and placed on the altar at a burial service.
The highest-ranking official of the royal house, the Lord Chamberlain, broke his “wand of office” and placed it on the coffin, symbolizing the end of his reign.
The lead-lined oak coffin, covered in the queen’s colours, was then lowered into the Royal Vault.
A lone piper played a wail, the mournful melody fading as he walked away.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
|Hire Us For website setup, design, tech support or any type of online work.||Send Email|
|Follow Us On Google News||Google News|
|Follow Us On Facebook|
|Follow Us On Pinterest|
|Follow Us On Tumblr||Tumblr|
|Follow Us On Telegram||Telegram|
|Follow Us On Linkedin|
|Download Free Games||Download Free Games|