In pictures: The story of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

Here is the story of how Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral unfolded on Monday. 

The Queen’s coffin had been in Westminster Hall, where thousands of mourners came to pay their respects since last Wednesday. The queues were many kilometres long and members of the public — including celebrities such as football player, David Beckham — had to wait more than 12 hours.

The Queen’s coffin was taken to Westminster Abbey for the funeral service, which started at noon CEST. Among the royal attendees were King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, as well as the former’s two children and their families – William and Catherine, now the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Among the guests were various members of Europe’s royal families, including King Felipe VII and Queen Letizia of Spain, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, and Queen Margrethe of Denmark – who recently celebrated her 50th year on the throne. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, gave a sermon in which he extolled the Queen’s service and said: “The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death. The pattern for all who serve God – famous or obscure, respected or ignored – is that death is the door to glory.”

“We will all face the merciful judgment of God: we can all share the Queen’s hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership. Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: ‘We will meet again,'” he added.

In a country known for pomp and pageantry, the first state funeral since Winston Churchill’s was filled with spectacle: Before the service, a bell tolled 96 times — once a minute for each year of Elizabeth’s life. Then, 142 Royal Navy sailors used ropes to draw the gun carriage carrying her flag-draped coffin to Westminster Abbey, where pallbearers bore it inside and about 2,000 people ranging from world leaders to health care workers gathered to mourn.

But the personal was also present: The coffin was followed into the church by generations of Elizabeth’s descendants, including King Charles III, heir to the throne Prince William and 9-year-old George, who is second in line. On a wreath atop the coffin, a handwritten note read, “In loving and devoted memory,” and was signed Charles R — for Rex, or king.

Several leading politicians and heads of state from around the world attended, namely US President Joe Biden, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Israel’s Isaac Herzog, and South Korea’s Yoon Suk-yeol.

The UK’s former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson — who resigned in July as a result of a growing number of scandals — and his wife, Carrie Johnson, were among the guests.

Johnson’s successor, Prime Minister Liz Truss and her husband Hugh O’Leary, also attended the ceremony. Truss is the last of the Queen’s prime ministers, and was selected shortly before her death.

In a gaffe from an Australian television channel, Channel Nine, Truss and her husband were accidentally misidentified as “minor royals.”

The ceremony was broadcast to millions on television and could be watched from screens in public parks.

Monday was declared a public holiday in honour of Elizabeth II, who died on 8 September. Hundreds of thousands of people descended on central London to witness the occasion. They jammed pavements to watch the coffin pass along the streets of the capital after the service. 

Mark Elliott, 53, was one of the people who attended the procession. He travelled from the Lake District in northern England with his wife and two children to watch the event. He got up at 1:30 am to find a good viewing location near the palace.

“I know we don’t know the queen, but she’s been our head of state for 70 years, you feel as though you know her, you feel as though she’s part of the family. It is kind of moving,” he stated.

As the procession passed Buckingham Palace, the queen’s official residence in London, staff stood outside, some bowing and curtseying. Certain mourners were moved to tears.

More people lined the route the hearse took from the capital to Windsor Castle, and many tossed flowers at the cortege as it passed. 

As the coffin arrived at the castle, there were poignant reminders of her love of animals: A groom stood at the roadside with one of her ponies, Emma, and another member of staff held the leashes of two of her beloved corgis, Sandy and Muick.

During the committal ceremony in St George’s Chapel on the castle grounds, Dean of Windsor David Conner commended the late Queen for her “life of unstinting service” to the nation but also her “kindness, concern and reassuring care for her family and friends and neighbours.”

 Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was lowered into a vault at Windsor Castle, her final resting place.


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