Queen's State Funeral: Event of the Century: World bids farewell to Elizabeth II

The world bid farewell to the Queen on Monday with one of the largest state funerals in history.

Queen's State Funeral: Event of the Century: World bids farewell to Elizabeth II

The world bid farewell to the Queen on Monday with one of the largest state funerals in history. Watched by millions of TV viewers around the world, a grieving nation in London and Windsor paid their last respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. Numerous heads of state and monarchs took part in the unprecedented funeral ceremonies, some of whom had traveled from far away. Hundreds of thousands lined the streets for the event of the century.

King Charles III seemed moved when he and his immediate family escorted his mother's coffin through the British capital. The 73-year-old had tears in his eyes. Queen's great-grandchildren Prince George (9), a future king, and Princess Charlotte (7) bravely joined the funeral procession with their parents Prince William and Princess Kate (both 40).

In the afternoon, the Queen's body was taken to her Windsor residence, west of London. There she was buried in a private ceremony in the evening after a funeral service alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at the age of 99. They rest in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, a small side chapel of St George's Chapel, the palace said in the evening.

Last drive through London to Windsor

There are also the parents of the Queen, King George VI. (1895-1952) and "Queen Mum" (1900-2002), as well as the urn of the Queen's younger sister Princess Margaret (1930-2002), who was cremated 20 years ago at her own request - contrary to tradition.

Commentators spoke of an unprecedented spectacle in recent history. Elizabeth II sat on the throne for 70 years - longer than any other British monarch. She died on September 8th at her Scottish country estate in Balmoral, aged 96.

The sympathy was great on the streets. Scores of people threw flowers at the hearse from the edge as the vehicle took the Queen around London for the last time and then to her beloved Windsor Castle residence. The Queen's beloved corgis, now cared for by her second eldest son, Prince Andrew, and her favorite horse, Emma, ​​were also waiting there.

The state funeral was meticulously scheduled: at 11:44 a.m. (12:44 p.m. CEST), the coffin wrapped in the royal standard was carried from Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where a number of people had paid their last respects to the Queen in state, to nearby Westminster Abbey. About 2,000 guests attended a one-hour service there. It was at the Abbey that the Queen married Prince Philip in 1947 and was crowned in 1953.

Everything is choreographed

Hours before the service, all areas along the route of the funeral procession were full. New arrivals were ushered into Hyde Park where the ceremony was shown on giant screens.

"We put on a good show," said Londoner Kas Girdler, who watched the ceremony with two friends. "We're good at that, we can." Londoner Liz Bosanquet, who followed the ceremony with her sons Tommy and Leo and other friends, said: "It was very moving, especially when everyone was silent and applause broke out afterwards."

A gun salute sounded every minute of the funeral procession, and the famous Big Ben bell rang regularly. A number of soldiers in gala uniform walked past the sites of Elizabeth's 70-year reign, such as Buckingham Palace, with the coffin. Many of the uniforms and ceremonies reminded viewers of the former British Empire, which continued to crumble during Elizabeth's reign.

With King Charles, the other children of the Queen - Princess Anne (72), Prince Andrew (62) and Prince Edward (58) - followed in the funeral procession. Behind her walked her grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry. Their wives and William's children followed in limousines to the triumphal arch of Wellington Arch, where the coffin was transferred from a carriage to the hearse by eight porters. At Windsor, the Royals rejoined the convoy.

Royals and heads of state from all over the world as guests

As expected, Andrew and Harry didn't show up in uniform. Both were in the military, Andrew in the Falklands War and Harry in Afghanistan. However, they are no longer active members of the Royal Family. At the wake in Westminster Hall, they had previously exceptionally appeared in uniform.

During the service, many eyes were on the youngest attendees of the royal family. Charlotte wore a black hat with a bow over her long blond hair and a coat. George wore a dark blue suit with a white shirt and tie. Her younger brother Prince Louis (4) was not seen.

Princess Kate and Harry's wife, Duchess Meghan, appeared in black, but in different fashion styles. Kate wore a long-sleeved coat dress, a hat with a veil over her face and pearl earrings. She wore a pearl necklace from the Queen. Meghan wore a dress with a cape, hat and pearl stud earrings.

A good dozen queens and kings, plus sultans and even the Japanese emperor Naruhito, who otherwise never attends funerals - there has probably not been such an exquisite guest list for a long time.

US President Joe Biden also attended, as did French President Emmanuel Macron and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He expects the new British king to visit Germany in the not too distant future, Steinmeier, who spoke to the monarch at a reception on Sunday, told ZDF.

Bagpipes and Hymn

The six living British ex-Prime Minister and incumbent Liz Truss also attended the state ceremony. Flower arrangements and music (much by Bach) were specially chosen for the Queen because of their symbolism.

A personal letter from Charles to his mother was also enthroned on the coffin. "In loving and faithful memory. Charles R." The R." stands for Rex, the Latin word for "king".

The Archbishop of Canterbury also recalled the Queen's widely acclaimed speech to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic. Elizabeth II encouraged her subjects at the time and said: "We will meet again." At the conclusion of the service, the signal "The Last Post" sounded. After two minutes of silence, the Queen's personal bagpiper performed "Sleep, Dearie, Sleep". Finally, the national anthem "God Save the King" was sung.

The state funeral was an enormous challenge for the authorities: the police, secret services and anti-terrorist units coordinated what is probably the largest security operation the city has ever experienced. Meanwhile, the country stood still - schools and universities as well as shops remained closed almost everywhere. The event also had an impact on the travel plans of numerous people. More than 100 flights have been canceled at London's Heathrow Airport to allow for silence during the ceremonies.

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