Britain said goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday in a historic state funeral attended by world leaders, before the ceremonial journey passed hundreds of thousands of mourners. to her final resting place.
Huge crowds gathered in London to watch the queen’s flag-draped coffin, crowned with the Royal Crown of State, her sphere and scepter, being slowly loaded onto a gun-carrying carriage from the Hall Westminster of parliament, where it has been in state since Wednesday.
To the tune of pipes and drums, the gun carriage – used at every state funeral since Queen Victoria in 1901 – was then pulled by 142 junior enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy. to Westminster Abbey.
The millennial church’s tenor bell rang 96 times a minute apart – once for every year of her life – and stopped a minute before service began at 11:00 a.m. (1000 GMT).
In his funeral homily, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the queen’s life of duty and service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
He told 2,000 guests, including US President Joe Biden and Emperor Naruhito of Japan: “People who love to serve are rare.
The coffin is then carried out, to the rhythm of funeral parades, in a three-hour journey through the streets of London to Windsor Castle, west of the capital.
Along the route, a sea of arms was raised overhead, clutching cell phones, to capture a dance performance of military precision.
Final chants of “God save the queen” were heard as onlookers scattered flowers in the street, and muffled church bells rang out in the distance.
A private burial took place late Monday in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, led by the Dean of Windsor, the royal family’s official website said.
“The Queen has been buried with the Duke of Edinburgh,” a statement said, referring to her 73-year-old husband, Prince Philip, who passed away last year.
– Corgis –
Former soldier Robert MacDonald, 48, was among the dense crowd lining up the three-mile (five-kilometer) Road leading to Windsor Castle.
“I’ve been in the infantry for 26 years, so the queen is my boss,” he said, adding that he wanted “to say hello one last time as the hearse passes.”
On the Long Road, the military horse passed the queen’s late Fell horse, Carltonlima Emma, standing without a rider. Her last two corgis, Muick and Sandy, met him at the castle.
The Queen – the longest-serving monarch in British history – died at Balmoral, her Scottish Highlands refuge, on 8 September after a year of declining health.
Her eldest son and successor, King Charles III, dressed in ceremonial uniform, followed solemn processions in London, along with his three siblings.
They were accompanied by Charles’ eldest son Prince William, William’s estranged brother, Prince Harry, and other high-ranking royals.
William’s two eldest children, George, nine, and Charlotte, seven, also walked behind the coffin at Westminster Abbey.
Late Sunday, Charles, 73, and his wife, Queen Camilla, 75, said they were “deeply moved” by the wave of publicity.
Charles said: “I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you.
England, a country that has changed much since the queen was crowned in the same monastery in 1953, has delved into its centuries-old tradition of honoring the only monarch most of the people of. they used to know.
– ‘Moment of history’ –
“It was once in a lifetime,” says student Naomi Thompson, 22, camping among the crowds at 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 could not be in London gathered in cinemas and churches around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to watch the ceremony and procession on big screens.
Automotive engineer Jamie Page, a 41-year-old military veteran, stood on Whitehall to observe the funeral, wearing his military medallion from his service in the Iraq war.
“She means it all, she’s like a gift from God,” he said.
The funeral – watched in silence by the crowd – lasted less than an hour.
It ended with the trumpeters playing “The Last Post”, two minutes of silence in memory of the queen, and a replay of the 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”.
“Music is beautiful. It feels beautifully appreciated, respectful and sensitive,” he said.
– Heading to Windsor –
The long procession passed Downing Street, government buildings in Whitehall, past the Guards Parade and up the Mall, the tree-lined avenue leading to Buckingham Palace decorated in red, white and blue.
At the nearby Wellington Arch, the 6,000 members of the armed forces who marched in hypnotic beeps stopped and the coffins were moved to the royal hearse.
Charles saluted and the national anthem played again before the hearse made its way to Windsor Castle.
The Queen is buried with her father George VI, mother Queen Elizabeth and sister Princess Margaret, reunited in the death of a family that once called themselves “the four of us”.
The coffin of her husband Philip, who died last year at the age of 99, was moved to lie next to her.
Elizabeth’s funeral could not have been different from Philip’s at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in April 2021.
Coronavirus restricts mourners to only 30 people, led by the queen, a lone figure dressed in black mourning robes and wearing a matching mask.
By contrast on Monday, the monastery was packed with dignitaries and some ordinary Britons were honored for military or community service, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You’ve been lucky to have her for 70 years; we all are,” Biden said Sunday after signing the condolence book. “The world is better for her.”
In the abbey’s pew was Liz Truss, who was appointed by the queen as the 15th British prime minister of her reign just two days before her death, in her last major ceremonial duty.
All of Truss’s living predecessors were there along with her counterparts and representatives from 14 Commonwealth countries outside of England, where Charles was also head of state.
Whether they remained a constitutional monarchy or became a republic could be the defining feature of Charles’ reign.
– Royal vault –
The queen’s death has prompted deep reflections on the England she reigns, the legacy of the past, the present state and what the future may hold, and the values of service. and the lifelong duty she represented.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people lined up, sometimes lasting up to 25 hours and overnight, to be carried over the queen’s coffin while it was in state.
Chrissy Heerey, a Royal Air Force service member who has joined the marathon queue twice, was last through the door early Monday and described the experience as “wonderful”.
During the post-funeral procession, Big Ben, the giant bell atop Elizabeth Tower at one end of the Houses of Parliament, collected tolls and military guns fired one minute apart.
At Windsor, the Sebastopol Bells – captured in Crimea in 1856 – and the Curfew Tower Bells also rang.
Large numbers of television viewers watched the funeral worldwide and online, to mark a lasting fascination with the woman once described as “the last king of the globe”.
At Windsor, the queen’s crown, globe and scepter were removed and placed on the altar in a pledge ceremony.
The most senior royal official, the lord’s maidservant, broke her “wand” and placed it on the coffin, symbolizing the end of her reign.
The lead oak coffin, clad in the queen’s colors, was then lowered into the Royal Palace.
A lone bagpipe player plays a lament, the dreary tune fading as he walks.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)