The world said a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who died earlier this month at age 96 after 70 years on the throne.
A 2,000-strong congregation ranging from King Charles III and other royals to world leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden to members of the British public who helped battle the COVID-19 pandemic were in Westminster Abbey for the state funeral.
The queen’s closest relatives were ashen-faced as they followed her coffin to Westminster Abbey for her funeral on Monday, in a meticulously choreographed procession that nevertheless betrayed the high emotions of the day.
After 11 days of momentous change and activity since his mother died, Charles looked distraught and exhausted as the pall bearers carried the coffin into the abbey through the Great West Door for the funeral service.
William and Kate had their children between them as they walked, and could be seen touching their shoulders to support them.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II’S COFFIN
The queen’s coffin was taken in a procession from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy.
Her coffin is draped with the Royal Standard, and the Instruments of State, the Imperial State Crown and regalia, which are are laid upon it along with a flower wreath.
2,868 diamonds, along with 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls and 4 rubies, sparkle in the Imperial State Crown.
Queen Elizabeth II and her grandfather, King Geroge V, both used the same vast, medieval Westminster Hall with the coffin resting on a royal purple platform in the middle. A brass cross is at one end of the coffin, the royal standard is draped on top, and tall candlesticks and scarlet- and gold-clad ceremonial guards are carefully placed around it.
The tradition of lying in state stretches back to the time of the Stuarts — who reigned from 1603 to 1714 — when sovereigns lay in state for a number of days. But Edward VII was the monarch who set the modern tradition of lying in state in Westminster Hall in 1910. Archival footage showed that just like today, crowds formed huge lines snaking through central London for a chance to file past their sovereign’s coffin.
King Charles III led the royal family on foot behind the Queen’s coffin. The king walked in a line with his siblings, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward. Behind them was William, the Prince of Wales, Harry, the Duke of Sussex and Peter Phillips, Princess Anne’s son. They were followed by Princess Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Gloucester and the Queen’s nephew the Earl of Snowdon.
Camilla, the Queen Consort, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the Duke of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent joined the royal procession behind the coffin as it made its way through the aisle of Westminster Abbey
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY DELIVERS SERMON
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered the sermon at Westminster Abbey.
“Come holy spirit, and fill our hearts with the balm of your healing love. Amen,” he said.
“Her Majesty famously declared on a 21st birthday broadcast, that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth. Rarely has such a promise being so well kept, few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen,” Welby continued.
HYMN PERFORMED AT PRINCE WILLIAM’S WEDDING SUNG
The choir and congregation sang the third hymn — “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” a Welsh tune which was also performed in 2011 at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, CNN reports. The arrangement was written by James O’Donnell, a former organist at Westminster Abbey.
TWO MINUTES OF SILENCE
Toward the end of the service, the church and much of the nation fell silent for two minutes. Trumpets rang out before the congregation sang “God Save the King”. The queen’s piper brought the service to an end with a lament that faded to silence.
It followed a rendition of “The Last Post,” a short fanfare played at remembrance services and military funerals.
Crowds outside Westminster Abbey paused to stand in silence, alongside mourners inside the building.
Afterwards, the coffin began its journey through central London, past the queen’s Buckingham Palace home to the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, with the monarch and the royal family following on foot during the 1.5 mile procession.
MEDALS WORN BY QUEEN ELIZABETH II’S CHILDREN
King Charles wore a Royal Navy no. 1 tailcoat with a sword. His military uniform includes the following medals:
- Queen’s Service Order (New Zealand)
- Coronation Medal
- Silver Jubilee Medal
- Golden Jubilee Medal
- Diamond Jubilee Medal
- Platinum Jubilee Medal
- Naval Long Service Good Conduct
- Canadian Forces Decoration
- The New Zealand Commemorative Medal
- The New Zealand Armed Forces Award.
The Princess Royal also wore a Royal Navy full ceremonial uniform in the rank of admiral. She wore full size medals including:
- Queen’s Service Order
- Coronation Medal
- The Silver, Gold, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals
- Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Royal Navy)
- Canadian Forces Decoration
- Order of St John Service Medal
- New Zealand 1990 Medal
The queen will make her final journey from Westminster Abbey toward Windsor, where she will be buried with her husband, Prince Phillip who died in 2021.