The UK and the world said their final goodbyes to Queen Elizabeth II at a state funeral on Monday, drawing presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers – and crowds gathered. centered along the streets of London to honor a king whose 70-year reign defined an era.
In a country known for its pomp and pageantry, the first state funeral since Winston Churchill was filled with spectacle. Before the service, a bell rang 96 times – once a minute for every year of Elizabeth’s life.
Later, 142 Royal Navy sailors used ropes to pull her flag-clad coffin to Westminster Abbey before mourners carried it inside the church, which is home to some 2,000 people. People from world leaders to medical staff gathered to mourn her.
The pitfalls of state and monarchy abound: The coffin is covered with the Royal Standard and atop it is the Crown of the Royal State, glittering with nearly 3,000 diamonds, and the orb and crown scepter of sovereignty.
But the individual is also present: The coffin is followed into the church by generations of Elizabeth’s descendants, including King Charles III, heir to the throne Prince William, and nine-year-old George, who is second in line .
On a wreath at the top of the coffin, a handwritten note reads “In loving and devoted memory,” and signed Charles R – for Rex, or king.
“Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from all over the country, from the Commonwealth and from nations around the world, to mourn our loss. , in remembrance of her long life of selfless service, and certainly pledge her before the mercy of God, our creator and redeemer,” said medieval abbess David, Hoyle, speak to mourners as the funeral opens.
The service ended with two minutes of silence observed across the UK, after which attendees sang the national anthem, now titled Christ the King.
Monday was declared a holiday in memory of Elizabeth, who passed away on September 8 – and hundreds of thousands of people flocked to central London to take part in the historic moment.
The Queen was laid to rest with her late husband, Prince Philip, at a private family service in Windsor.