Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive in June 1960 at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, west London.
LONDON: Britain bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday at a state funeral attended by world leaders, before a historic ceremonial final journey through the streets of London filled with sad mourners. Huge crowds gathered in near silence to watch as the Queen’s flag-draped coffin, topped with the Imperial State Crown, orb and scepter, was slowly carried to a gun carriage from the Westminster Hall of Parliament, where she had remained in state since Wednesday. To the sound of bagpipes and drums, the gun carriage – used at every state funeral since Queen Victoria’s in 1901 – was then pulled by 142 young sailors enlisted in the Royal Navy to Westminster Abbey .
The millennial church’s tenor bell rang 96 times at one-minute intervals – one for each year of its life – stopping one minute before the service began at 11:00 a.m. (1000 GMT). Charles III walks by the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with a royal standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s Orb and Scepter as it leaves the Abbey.
In his funeral sermon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the Queen’s life of duty and service to the UK and Commonwealth. “People who serve with love are rare in all walks of life. Leaders of loving service are even rarer,” he told the 2,000 guests, including US President Joe Biden and the reclusive Emperor. Japan’s Naruhito “But either way, those who serve will be loved and remembered,” the Anglican leader added, before the coffin was carried in another procession to its final resting place at Windsor Castle, England. West London. The oldest monarch in British history died at Balmoral, his Scottish Highland retreat, on September 8 after a year of declining health. His eldest son and successor, King Charles III, dressed in a ceremonial military uniform, followed the solemn processions, alongside his three siblings.Charles’ eldest son, Prince William, accompanied them alongside William’s estranged brother, Prince Harry, and other members of the Royal Family.William’s two eldest children, Geor ge and Charlotte, who are next in line to the throne, also walked behind the coffin inside the abbey. Late on Sunday, Charles, 73, and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, said they were “deeply touched” by the flood of messages from the public. “As we all prepare to say our final goodbyes, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you,” he said. Britain, a country that has changed a lot since the queen was crowned in the same abbey in 1953, dug deep into its centuries of tradition to honor the only monarch most of its people have ever known. “It’s once in a lifetime,” said student Naomi Thompson, 22, camping out in the crowds in London’s Hyde Park. “It’s a moment in history… She’s everybody’s grandmother,” added engineer Alice Garret, 28. . Automotive engineer Jamie Page, a 41-year-old former soldier, stood on Whitehall to watch the funeral procession, wearing his military medals for service in the Iraq War.
“Aged sixteen, I took an oath of allegiance to the Queen. She was my boss. She means everything, she was like a gift from God,” he said. But of Charles, the oldest person yet to come to the British throne, Page added: “Who knows, time will tell.” The funeral lasted just under an hour, closed with a bugle playing “The Last Post”, before two minutes of silence and the rephrased national anthem, “God Save the King”. After an hour-long procession that was to pass Buckingham Palace, the coffin was to be taken west by road to Windsor Castle, where thousands of people had lined the road since early morning. Some 6,000 servicemen have been enlisted to take part in the proceedings of what Britain’s highest-ranking military officer has called “our last duty to Her Majesty the Queen”. The Queen will be buried alongside her father King George VI, mother Queen Elizabeth and sister Princess Margaret, uniting in death the family that was once known as “the four of us”. The coffin of her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year at the age of 99, will also be moved to lie beside her. Elizabeth’s funeral couldn’t be more different to Philip’s at St George’s Chapel, Windsor in April 2021. Coronavirus restrictions have limited mourners to just 30, led by the Queen, a figure black mourning loner and a matching face mask. The contrast was stark on Monday, with the abbey teeming with dignitaries and some ordinary Britons who were honored for their military or community service, particularly during the Covid pandemic. “You were lucky to have had her for 70 years; we all were,” Biden said Sunday after signing a condolence book. “The world is better for her.” In the Abbey pews was Liz Truss, whom the Queen named Britain’s 15th Prime Minister of her reign just two days before her death, in her last major ceremony. All of Truss’ living predecessors were there, as well as his 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 feature of Charles’ reign. The Queen’s death has prompted deep reflection on the Britain she ruled, the legacy of her past, her current state and what the future may hold, and the values of lifelong service and duty whom she came to represent during her 70-year reign. . It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people lined up, sometimes for up to 10 p.m. and all night, to file past the Queen’s coffin as it lay in state. Chrissy Heerey, a serving member of the Royal Air Force who has joined the marathon queue twice, was the last person through the gates and described the experience as “incredible”. “When they came to me and said, ‘it’s true, you’re the last person,’ I said, really?!” she told AFP, before leaving to join the crowd for the coffin procession through London. 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 shots were fired at one-minute intervals. At Windsor, the Sevastopol Bell – captured in the Crimea in 1856 – and the Curfew Tower Bell also rang. Vast television audiences were expected to watch the funeral around the world and live online, a sign of the lingering fascination with the woman once described as ‘the world’s last monarch’. Those lining the streets of London – already blocked at sunrise on Monday – said they had to testify. “I will tell my children about this moment,” said Jack Davies, 14, camped out for the procession with his parents at Hyde Park Corner, where the coffin will be transferred from the gun carriage for the journey to Windsor. “I will say, ‘I was there!’ At Windsor, the Queen’s crown, orb and scepter will be removed and placed on the altar. The highest-ranking officer in the royal household, the Lord Chamberlain, breaks his “wand of office” and places it on the coffin, symbolizing the end of his reign. The lead-lined oak coffin, draped in the Queen’s colours, will be lowered into the royal vault as a lone bagpiper plays a lament. A private burial ceremony will take place at the adjacent King George VI Memorial Chapel at 6.30pm GMT. * Follow us on instagram and join our Telegram and or WhatsApp channel(s) for the latest news you don’t want to miss.
* Do you have access to the Daily Express electronic newspaper and exclusive news online? Check subscription plans available.