Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral: Top moments from the historic event

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin leaves Westminster Abbey on the day of her funeral.  (James Forde for The Washington Post)
Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin leaves Westminster Abbey on the day of her funeral. (James Forde for The Washington Post)

LONDON – Big Ben rings, a bell from the Great Bell for each of her 96 years on earth, and Queen Elizabeth II’s body is passed through Westminster Abbey for the last time – where the 1947 wedding took place. and her 1953 coronation – for a state funeral attended by 90 world leaders and hundreds of dignitaries, including emperors and monarchs, and Harry and Meghanalso.

London has been given full rights to the event, invested with all the glamor, circumstance and artistry that monarchy, military and state can showcase to millions of global broadcast audiences.

The new king declared Monday a national holiday, and so hundreds of thousands of people were able to flock to the capital to say goodbye – some tossing flowers on hearses, others shouting “God!” Bless the queen!” – inside The most complex security challenge the capital has faced since World War II, much larger than the 2012 Summer Olympics.

By evening, there were no significant police incidents report.

Quiet, solemn, that’s what people say – especially the two minutes of silence that brought the country and a city of 9 million people to a complete halt.

Even air traffic into Heathrow International Airport was halted. The messenger helicopter was banned during service.

The day begins at dawn, when the last members of the public are removed from Westminster Hall, the parliament building where the queen’s funeral took place for the previous four days, a vigil is held. Watch as epic 24/7. lined up stretches for miles and miles, an explosion that astounds planners.

In the epic queue to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, they were the last

The queen’s coffin, hanging a royal banner, traveled the short distance from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey atop the Royal Navy Gun Carriage, a means of transport not drawn by horses but by people. .

The tradition began after the horses pulling Queen Victoria’s coffin in 1901 panicked, nearly toppling the coffin into the street. To prevent a repeat, 90 sailors pulled the carriage, while 40 marched behind to brake.

The monastery opens early to welcome dignitaries who have visited shuttles and armored vehicles – to the 13th-century church, whose floors and walls are covered with memorials to those who were buried or honored there: Charles Darwin, Jane Austen, Isaac Newton, Mary, Queen of Scotland, Geoffrey Chaucer, Laurence Olivier, Charles Dickens, Stephen Hawking and Queen Elizabeth I.

Around 2,000 guests attended – among them representatives from dozens of royal families and members of the House of Commons of Windsor, including great-grandson of queens George and Charlotte, 9 years old and 7 years old, both dressed in black and well behaved in front of the camera. (4 year old Louis is restless not there.)

Britain’s last state funeral was in 1965 for wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The last state funeral was that of Churchill. The Queen Elizabeth II event is a larger one.

Write about that day in the newspaper Observer in 1965, journalist Patrick O’Donovan declared, “This is the last time such a thing can happen. This is the last time London has become the capital of the world. This was an act of mourning for the empire’s past. This marked the final act in British greatness. “

It is true that the British Empire shrank after Elizabeth’s reign, with territories asserting independence. Some are left the realms are currently being reevaluated their relationship with the crown. Meanwhile, Brexit has turned the UK into “little Britain” in many people’s minds.

But Churchill’s departure was not the final act. The UK remains one of the largest economies in the world. Great Britain, London and the monarchy have all proven to be flexible enough, resilient enough to be reborn.

Monday’s mourners included President Biden and first lady Jill Biden; European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Emperor Naruhito of Japan, and Canadian-American actress Sandra Oh.

Also attended were prime ministers Anthony Albanese of Australia, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Justin Trudeau of Canada, along with presidents Emmanuel Macron of France, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Sergio Mattarella of Italy and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany.

Without Vladimir Putin, without Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. China’s Xi Jinping sent his country’s vice president, while Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan appointed his foreign minister, after being told he could not arrive in his own presidential car .

The coffin was followed by the queen’s four children: the new king, Charles III; Princess Anne of the present time; former TV producer Prince Edward; and former Prince Andrew, dressed in civilian clothes rather than military uniforms, after being driven into semi-exile over their involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficking scandal.

William and Catherine, with their new titles of Prince and Princess of Wales, were next in the procession, along with their two eldest children.

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral is a farewell product for the ages

Prince Harry was also there with Meghan. He’s also not wearing a military uniform – which angered fans on social media, who called it “reprehensible” that the prince, who had witnessed the action during two tours in Afghanistan, was declined the honor because the couple renounced their royal responsibilities. and moved to California.

The publicly funded BBC has fulfilled a role it has applied since the queen’s death as a fighter for the monarchy. Commentators called the funeral “a wonderful blend of antiquity and modernity”. Also: “This is the greatness of our time.” And: “There’s an infinity to it.” Finally: “It is extraordinary how the new king has been welcomed.”

On top of the queen’s coffin was symbol of power: orb, scepter and resting on a purple pillow, Royal Crown, made of gold and encrusted with nearly 3,000 diamonds17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and four rubies.

Learn the Symbolism of the Queen’s Funeral

There is a wreath also cut out from the gardens that are now all the king’s houses: Buckingham Palace, Highgrove House and Clarence House. Each leaf is invested with meaning: rosemary in remembrance, black ginseng as an ancient symbol of a happy marriage, the Palace noted, adding: “At Your Majesty’s request, The wreath is made in a completely sustainable way, in a nest of English moss and oak branches, and no floral foam is used. “

Some on social media had fun with the appearance of a spider, hitchhiking on the wreath. Charles as prince is known to lobby for government ministers with the so-called “black spider remembers. “

To his mother, Charles wrote a handwritten letter visible on the wreath, which read: “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.” “R” refers to “Rex,” which is Latin for king.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, delivered the homily. He spoke of the queen’s lifelong devotion, not only to earthly duty, but to following Jesus Christ.

“The pattern for many leaders is to be glorified in life and forgotten after death,” Welby told the congregation. “Lovely servants are rare in any walk of life. Leaders who serve lovingly are even rarer.”

The archbishop recalled that when Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, she began with a silent prayer on the high altar at Westminster Abbey. “Her loyalty to God before anyone was loyal to her,” Welby said.

When the hour-long service ended, the congregation sang the national anthem, after seven decades revered as the “King Savior.” Then there’s the final piece, “Sleep, Dearie, Sleep,” a mourning lamentation for death, played by a lone musician on a bagpipe.

Pipeline Major Paul Burns of the Royal Scottish Regiment was also responsible for distracting the queen, playing beneath her window for 15 minutes each morning.

As the sound of the pipes faded, the queen’s coffin was carried out into the street, and moved from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch. The procession included 4,500 people – possibly the largest military parade of its kind in living memory.

The setting – the monuments of London – is rife with markers for the glory days of England in the past. Military paraders and chariots surrounded the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, a reminder of the era when the sun never set over the British Empire.

The procession in London ended at Wellington Arch, whose namesake – the Duke of Wellington – is commemorated for thwarting Napoleon’s ambitions at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

From there, the coffin was driven on a custom Jaguar-Land Rover hearse to Windsor Castle, the queen’s favorite weekend palace in her city dug at Buckingham Palace.

In Windsor, the procession has been reduced, but still majestic, the streets are packed, the church is once again full. But in a relative sense, it’s smaller, closer.

The queen’s wolves, Muick and Sandy, are waiting at the castle. Her horse, Emma, ​​stood on the Long Walk as the coffin passed. There were fewer VIPs among the guests and more people who had worked for the queen.

The Queen is buried in a vault at St George’s Chapel, along with the remains of her parents, sister and husband, Prince Philip.

As the crowd dispersed in London, Jillian Martin, 51, an educator with the National Trust in Northern Ireland, searched for someone who might want her pillow and blanket. Just enough to use. She spent two nights camping with friends to secure a spot along the procession route. But no sleep. “How am I? Other than being completely wrecked? Great. I’ve met a lot of people. We won’t see what just happened again.”

Sandra Stran, 57, who volunteered to help with the cleanup near Buckingham Palace, said: ‘We can’t let anyone see this sight. “I don’t want this mess. It looks like a stadium after a crazy football match.”

Jennifer Hassan and Annabelle Timsit contributed to this report.

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