- The Queen’s coffin is on its way to its final resting place in Windsor
- Kings and leaders gather in London for state funeral
- Thousands of streets line up for pomp and processions
- Queen Elizabeth was highly respected in Britain and abroad
- The death comes as Britain faces the threat of an economic crisis
LONDON (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people lined the road to take the late Queen Elizabeth to her final resting place at Windsor Castle on Monday, throwing flowers at the bell and cheering as she left the British capital she follows. state funeral.
Thousands more thronged central London to witness an unparalleled celebration attended by leaders and royals from around the world, a fitting end to Britain’s longest-serving monarch and universally respected one in his 70 years on the throne.
After mass, her flag-covered coffin was dragged through the silent streets on a rifle carriage in one of the largest military processions ever seen in Britain involving thousands of ceremonially dressed members of the armed forces.
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They walked in step to the funeral music of marching bands, while in the background the city’s famous Big Ben played every minute. King Charles and other senior members of the royal family followed him on foot.
The casket was carried from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, where it was taken to a niche to begin its journey to Windsor. There the Queen was due to be buried alongside her 73-year-old husband, Prince Philip.
Inside the imposing Westminster Abbey where the funeral was held, music was played at the Queen’s wedding in 1947, and her coronation rang again six years later.
The sarcophagus was inserted into lines from the Bible set to the pitch used at every state funeral since the early 18th century.
The 2,000-strong congregation included about 500 presidents and prime ministers, foreign royal families and dignitaries including Joe Biden of the United States and leaders from France, Canada, Australia, China, Pakistan and the Cook Islands.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, told worshipers that the grief felt by so many across Britain and the wider world reflected “the abundant life and loving service of the late King”.
“Her Majesty the late Queen famously declared on her 21st birthday that her whole life would be devoted to serving the nation and the Commonwealth,” he said.
“This promise is rarely well kept. Few leaders receive as much love as we’ve seen.”
Among the crowds who came from all over Britain and abroad, people climbed lampposts and stood on parapets and stairs to catch a glimpse of the royal procession.
Some wore elegant black suits and dresses. Others wore hoodies, leggings, and tracksuits. A woman with her dyed green hair stood next to a man in a morning suit as they waited for the procession to begin.
Millions more watched on television in their homes on a public holiday that was announced on the occasion, the first time a British monarch’s funeral was broadcast on television. Around the wider capital, the usually busy streets were deserted.
He was a king, said Ben Vega, 47, a nurse from the Philippines standing behind the crowd in a chair.
“I love celebrating the Queen. I love the way the British do it,” he said. “I’m from the Philippines, we don’t have this, we don’t have royal families. It’s a sad day for me. I’ve been here for 20 years. I saw the Queen as my second mum, England became my second mum. Second home.”
Elizabeth died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle, her summer home in the Scottish Highlands.
Her health was in decline, and for months the monarch, who carried out hundreds of official engagements in her nineties, withdrew from public life.
However, in keeping with her sense of duty, she was photographed just two days before her death, looking frail but smiling and holding a wand when she appointed Liz Truss as her 15th and last Prime Minister.
So long was her life and her inseparable connection to Britain that her family found her traumatic.
“We all thought she was invincible,” Prince William told well-wishers.
Elizabeth, the fortieth sovereign in the dynasty dating back to 1066, ascended to the throne in 1952 and became Britain’s first post-imperial monarch.
She oversaw her country in an effort to acquire a new place in the world, and was instrumental in the emergence of the Commonwealth of Nations, which now includes 56 nations.
When she succeeded her father, George VI, Winston Churchill was her first prime minister, and Joseph Stalin led the Soviet Union. She met prominent figures from politics to entertainment and sports including Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Pele and Roger Federer.
Despite her reputation at 5 feet 3 inches (1.6 m), she dominated rooms with her presence and became a global towering figure, acclaimed by death from Paris and Washington to Moscow and Beijing. National mourning is observed in Brazil, Jordan and Cuba, countries with which it does not have direct links.
“Likeable people are rare in any walk of life,” Welby said during the funeral. “Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privilege are long forgotten.”
The tenor bell for the Abbey – the site of coronations, weddings and burials of English and British kings and queens for nearly 1,000 years – has been circulated 96 times.
Among the hymns selected for service is “Lord Shepherd,” which was sung at the wedding of the Queen and her husband Prince Philip at the Abbey in 1947. Among the royals after the casket in the Abbey was the Queen’s grandson and future King Prince George, aged nine.
In addition to dignitaries, among the worshipers were those awarded Britain’s highest military and civilian medals for bravery, representatives of the charities supported by the Queen and those who made “extraordinary contributions” to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Near the end of the service, the church and much of the nation fell silent for two minutes. Trumpets sounded before the worshipers sang “God Save the King.” Outside, the crowds joined in and applauded when the anthem ended.
The Queen’s Corridor ended the service with a lament that faded into silence.
The coffin then made its way through central London, bypassing Queen Buckingham Palace to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, where the King and the royal family walked on foot during a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) procession.
From there, it was placed in the heart of Windsor Castle, west of London, for service in St George’s Chapel. This will end with the crown, orb, and scepter – symbols of the king’s power and rule – being taken out of the ark and placed on the altar.
Lord Chamberlain, the highest official in the royal family, will break his “office wand”, which signifies the end of his service to the King, and place it on the casket.
Then it is lowered into the royal vault.
Later in the evening, in a private family service, the coffins of Elizabeth and her husband of more than seven decades, Prince Philip, who died last year at the age of 99, will be buried together at King George VI Memorial Chapel, where her parents and sister, Princess Margaret, are resting. also.
Grandchildren Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie said, “We are so happy to have you back with my grandfather. Goodbye, my dear, it has been the honor of our lives to be your granddaughters and we are so proud of you.”
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Additional reporting by William James, Kylie McClellan, Estelle Charbon, Andrew McCaskill, Paul Sandell, Alistair Smoot, Moviga M, Sachin Ravikumar, Farouk Suleiman, Angus McSwan, Richa Naidoo, Peter Hobson, Julia Payne, Natalie Grover, Lindsey Dunsmuir, Elizabeth Piper. Editing by Mike Collette White and Janet Lawrence
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