Queen Elizabeth's funeral: Britain bids farewell to the king with an abundance of feelings

Queen Elizabeth’s funeral: Britain bids farewell to the king with an abundance of feelings


Britain bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday with a solemn funeral imbued with tradition and a farewell that reflects the vast popularity she has managed to maintain during her remarkable seven decades of rule.

Members of the royal family and dignitaries gathered at Westminster Abbey for a sad service. Presidents, prime ministers, princes, princesses and other public figures sat side by side to pay their last respects – a testament to her far-reaching charisma and clever diplomacy.

The funeral, which was both a formal and a religious service, and was the culmination of ten days of mourning, honored the Queen with the kind of festival she used to promote the royal family and the “brand of Britain” throughout her life.

Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets around Westminster Abbey and along the 25-mile procession route from central London to Windsor, hoping to catch a glimpse of the king’s flag-covered coffin as it traveled to his final resting place.

In the third and final procession of the day, the Queen’s coffin was carried after crowds of well-wishers lined up along the long walkway to Windsor Castle for her service and burial at St George’s Chapel, where it was separated from the crown in the final. time.

Later in the evening, she was buried with her husband, the 73-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, at King George VI Memorial Chapel. It is attached to St George’s Chapel and also houses the remains of the Queen’s father, her mother the Queen Mother, and her sister, Princess Margaret.

Although the death of Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has been anticipated and carefully planned for years – the funeral arrangements, codenamed “Operation London Bridge”, have been the subject of long speculation – the scale of this moment of mourning and the public outpouring of emotion still surprises many. Even for those who aren’t fans of the royal family, her death marks the end of an era, and a shift in the national landscape.

At the age of 96, the Queen has become an almost mythical symbol of stability amid constant change. Her 70-year reign was doomed to war and epidemic, punctuated by uncertainty about Britain’s role on the world stage. She crowned as the sun began to set over the British Empire, and her death renewed talk of the country’s dark colonial past. It comes at a time of great political and economic turmoil, not only in the UK, but across the world.

The mourners held a minute's silence outside Buckingham Palace.

More than 200 foreign dignitaries were invited to her funeral at Westminster Abbey, including US President Joe Biden and Commonwealth leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Many have replaced limousines with buses to get to the funeral, just one part of a plan that amounts to the largest security operation British authorities have seen since World War II.

Representatives of some of the many charities of which the Queen was patron, along with emergency service workers and public servants, were among the 2,000 worshipers.

The service was held in the same abbey nave where the Queen was crowned 69 years ago, having married 75 years earlier to her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died last year. A sovereign who knew the soft power of spectacle, her coronation, at her request, was broadcast for the first time on television, bringing the splendor of royalty to millions around the world. On Monday, all eyes were on her again.

The Queen's coffin, covered in a royal standard, is carried inside Westminster Abbey.

Head of state in 15 countries in the Commonwealth realm, including the United Kingdom, and supreme ruler of the Church of England, her appeal as a figurehead lies in her keen sense of duty, tireless work ethic, and ability to appear neutral and elegant. Admiration for the Queen has avoided a major reckoning of the crown’s brutal legacy in the former colonies – including its historical links to the slave trade – but that already appears to be changing as some Commonwealth nations look to secede.

Last week, Antigua and Barbuda announced plans to hold a referendum on whether to become a republic, and last November, Barbados became the first kingdom in nearly 30 years to oust the British monarch as head of state.

King Charles left a handwritten message above the Queen's coffin:

Many of the Queen’s subjects felt as if they knew her – the woman whose portrait appears on coins and postage stamps, and who surveys say appears frequently in people’s dreams.

“She’s not just the queen of the 21st century, she’s more than that,” Chris Rowe, 60, who was camped out on a lawn bank in the mall to watch the funeral procession with his wife, told CNN. He said the Queen represented “the continuity of a tradition that is hundreds of years old”, adding that he had come to London to see “the continuity of the nation”.

While there were no screens, mourners at the mall were able to hear the radio broadcast of the funeral. The people stood motionless, their gazes lowered. Later, as the funeral procession passed, children were hoisted high on their shoulders to see military units march past and people took pictures on their phones – marking the end of an era.

People cry as they watch the Queen's funeral in London.

Over the past four days, a near familial sense of loss was palpable among mourners who waited in line that stretched for miles along the Thames to Westminster Hall, where the Queen’s body was in good shape, to pass her coffin.

On Friday, the children of Queen Elizabeth, King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, entered the cavernous chamber, their heads bowed, to silently watch the velvet casket bearing her coffin, adorned with the king’s jeweled crown, the orb. And the mace. A day later, Prince William and Prince Harry, dressed in military uniform, held a sombre vigil, standing alongside the Queen’s six other grandchildren.

On Monday morning, the King and other members of the royal family followed the coffin as it was being transported from Westminster Hall, on its last trip to the Abbey. attacked On the same chariot of guns used at the funeral of the Queen’s father, King George VI, and Winston Churchill, the first British Prime Minister among 15 people who served under her.

Britain's King Charles III, in the foreground, and Anne, the Princess Royal, right, walk behind the Queen's coffin.

Westminster Abbey’s Tenor Bell snapped once a minute for 96 minutes before the service, marking every year of the Queen’s life.

Small details such as the wreath above her coffin provided a glimpse into the queen’s personal taste. Made from cut flowers and foliage from the gardens of Buckingham Palace and other royal properties, it included pink and gold pelargoniums, garden roses and dahlias, with myrtle cut from a plant growing from a bough that appeared in the Queen’s wedding bouquet.

When the coffin was moved into the Abbey, the Queen’s grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte formed part of the procession behind her coffin. The choir of Westminster Abbey in the nave sang The Camel – lines from the Bible set to the music that has been used at every state funeral since the early part of the eighteenth century.

From left, Prince William, Prince George, Catherine, Princess of Wales and Princess Charlotte at the Queen's funeral.

It was the type of traditional and classical music that the Queen championed in life. The hymns chosen were “The Day You Give Lord” and “God Is My Shepherd, I Don’t Want”, which she sang at her 1947 wedding to Prince Philip, and the anthem “O Taste and See How Generous the Lord is,” composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the Queen’s coronation in 1953 .

A special choral piece was also commissioned for the day, composed by Lady King of Music Judith Weir, “Like as the Hart”. It is said to be inspired by the Queen’s “firm Christian faith,” a setting for music in Psalm 42.

Reverend David Howell, Dean of Westminster, conducted the service. British Prime Minister Liz Truss, appointed by the Queen just two days before her death, and Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia of Scotland read out the lessons, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, gave a sermon.

“The sadness of this day, which was felt not only by the family of the late Queen, but throughout the nation, the Commonwealth and the world, springs from her abundant life and her loving service—now gone,” Welby said in his sermon. Broadcast of the Queen’s 21st birthday, in which the famous announced that she would dedicate her whole life to serving the nation and the Commonwealth.

Service in life, hope in death; he concluded, citing the Queen’s speech during Britain’s Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, referring to Vera Lynn’s wartime song.

Pipe Major Paul Burns of the Royal Scottish Regiment concludes the Queen's funeral with translation

The hour-long service concluded with two minutes of silence, after which the worshipers sang the national anthem, “God Save the King.” The Queen’s Piper, whose music provoked the King every morning, played an appropriate lament, “Sleep, dear, sleep,” to close the proceedings.

The day’s events were a showcase of centuries-old rituals – a royal corridor surrounded by guards in braided costume, bagpipes and drummers, and streets lined with soldiers saluting as the sarcophagus passed. Precision pistols were fired in Hyde Park and Big Ben stalked the entire procession to Wellington Arch, where the coffin was placed in a core to be transported to Windsor.

Once there, the state inn traveled through the more than 140,000 people lined up on the procession route to Windsor Castle, with crowds packed along the long walkway. Two of the Queen’s adorable dogs are sitting outside the castle waiting for her last homecoming.

People line up on the procession route from London to Windsor.

At the tribute ceremony at St George’s Chapel on Monday afternoon, members of the royal family and the Queen’s House staff past and present sat together in seats for a more intimate ceremony. Some of the music at the service was composed by Sir William Henry Harris, who was the organist at St George’s Chapel when the Queen was a girl and is believed to have taught her to play the piano.

In a poignant moment filled with theatre, silence fell over the church and the crown jeweler removed the Imperial State’s crown and the king’s orb and scepter. Lord Chamberlain, head of the Queen’s household, broke his desk wand and placed it on top of the coffin before it was lowered into the Royal Vault.

The Queen's coffin was taken to St George's Chapel.

Later in the evening, at a private burial, she was buried with her husband of 73 years, her “perpetual strength and mentor”, the Duke of Edinburgh, at King George VI Memorial Chapel. It is attached to St George’s Chapel and also houses the remains of the Queen’s father, her mother the Queen Mother, and her sister, Princess Margaret.

“It means a lot to me,” said Lauren Calloway, who came to Windsor with her 8-year-old son, Cohen, to take part in this historic day. “Coming to see the Queen resting her last resting place here is a really important thing for me and my family.”

Crowds line the long walkway outside Windsor Castle to watch the procession.

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