The Queen is leaving London for the final time after a poignant last passing of Buckingham Palace as her coffin was carried from Westminster Abbey through London after her state funeral today followed by her mourning family. Her Majesty is on her longest and saddest journey and will be laid to rest in Windsor next to her beloved husband Prince Philip and her parents at St George’s Chapel later.
An estimated 2million people are on the streets of London to say farewell to the Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Elizabeth II. This afternoon her subjects showed their love and appreciation by throwing bouquets of flowers in the path of her hearse as she was carried to Windsor Castle through west London. King Charles had appeared tearful at his mother’s Westminster Abbey state funeral that ended with two minutes of silence, the Last Post and the national anthem. The monarch also looked emotional as he saluted when his mother left Wellington Arch in a hearse this afternoon.
On a day of pomp and poignant symbolism, grief was etched on the faces of Charles (pictured), his siblings and children as well as the huge crowds who swamped The Mall, Whitehall and Parliament Square to bade farewell to the beloved monarch as her coffin was carried from the Abbey on a gun carriage. Members of the Royal Family, including the King, marched poignantly behind, while others including the Princess of Wales, her children George and Charlotte, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, all looked on at the crowds as they passed them in vehicles.
The poignant scenes followed an extraordinary and emotional state funeral attended by 2,000 VIPs, royals, prime ministers and several hundred ordinary Britons chosen by the Queen, who died 11 days ago. The Archbishop of Canterbury described the Queen as having touched ‘a multitude of lives’ and having been a ‘joyful’ figure for many. She was head of state but also a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and in a personal touch, the wreath adorning her coffin had a handwritten note from the King. The message said: ‘In loving and devoted memory.’
After the funeral the coffin was borne on a gun carriage in a spectacle not seen for many generations, as hundreds of soldiers, sailors and airmen marched to solemn funeral pieces or lined the route. Behind her coffin were Charles and his siblings – the Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex – who were followed by the monarch’s three grandsons, Peter Phillips, Duke of Sussex and Prince of Wales. In a moving gesture, staff from Buckingham Palace stood outside the gates of the royal residence and watched as the late monarch was taken past for the last time.
Members of the Royal Family, including the King, marched poignantly behind, while others including the Princess of Wales and her children George (pictured) and Charlotte and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, looked on at the crowds as they passed them in vehicles. In the shadow of Apsley House, the former home of the Duke of Wellington, the sailors who had drawn the carriage carrying the Queen’s coffin came to a halt.
Members of the Royal Family watched and saluted as the bearer party lifted the coffin from the State Gun Carriage and loaded it into the back of the vehicle. Much of the procession party lined up in formation on the green next to the monument and stood in silence during the moving of the coffin. The national anthem then played as the hearse moved away. Applause and a spontaneous three cheers broke out as the Queen’s coffin passed the Albert Memorial in Kensington on its way to Windsor. As the hearse drove off flowers were thrown into the road by members of the public watching from behind a fence. Others waved Union flags as the fleet of vehicles drove past.
Following the departure of the coffin and the royal family, the bells at Westminster Abbey began to ring out. The muffled peal will continue throughout the afternoon, which only occurs after the funeral of a sovereign. The royal family watched on in two rows, with the King, the Queen Consort, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl and the Countess of Wessex in the first row. Behind them were the Princess (pictured) and the Prince of Wales, with Prince Charlotte and Prince George between them and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The King and the male royals saluted the coffin, except for the Duke of York and the Duke of Sussex (pictured), who were not in uniform, while some of the female royals curtseyed. The Queen’s coffin, followed by the King, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex , Duke of York and the Princess Royal, began its procession towards Wellington Arch after it was placed back onto the State Gun Carriage at just after midday.
Minute Guns were fired in Hyde Park by The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, as Big Ben tolled throughout the duration of the solemn procession through her city. As the Queen’s funeral procession moved past the Cenotaph in London, the King, the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex saluted the memorial to Britain and the Commonwealth soldiers killed in the First and Second World Wars. Prince Andrew and Prince Harry did not. The crowd in Whitehall broke into a chorus of ‘hip, hip, hooray’ and a round of applause as the procession drew past and people began to move on. The Queen was then borne through Horse Guards Parade, where Her Majesty presided over scores of Trooping the Colour ceremonies during her reign.
The Queen then went up The Mall for the last time as the funeral procession continued towards Buckingham Palace. The somber scene was bathed in sunshine, with the accompanying music of the military bands punctuated by the chimes of Big Ben. Her Majesty’s coffin passed Buckingham Palace for the final time on its way to Wellington Arch where her hearse to Windsor was waiting. The arch was an original entrance to Buckingham Palace, later becoming a victory arch commemorating the Duke of Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. The arch is topped by a large bronze sculpture, depicting the angel of peace descending on the four-horsed chariot of war.
There was a hush from the crowd in Whitehall as the funeral procession moved past the Cabinet War Rooms, the Cenotaph and Downing Street. Some emerged from balconies and windows, clad in black, while those on the street craned their necks and clutched cameras as they awaited the chance to say goodbye to the monarch. Mounties of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police lead the procession followed immediately by representatives of the George Cross foundations from Malta, the former Royal Ulster Constabulary, and four representatives from the NHS. The route is being lined by the armed forces from Westminster Abbey (pictured) to the top of Constitution Hill at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates.
The emotional King Charles III and his grief-stricken family had surrounded the Queen’s coffin at her state funeral in Westminster Abbey in a moving and majestic farewell to the late monarch today in an extraordinary service followed by a national two minute’s silence and the Last Post. Her Majesty made her final and saddest journey from Westminster Hall to the church where she married and was crowned as Britain mourned its longest-serving monarch and the royals bade goodbye to a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Her coffin was placed close to the altar with her crown, orb and scepter on its top surrounded by flowers chosen by the King from gardens she loved. A card in the flowers on top of the coffin read simply: ‘In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.’ The Archbishop of Canterbury hailed the Queen’s ‘abundant life and loving service’ as he delivered the sermon at her state funeral, adding: ‘She was joyful, present to so many, touching a multitude of lives.’ State trumpeters from the Household Cavalry sounded the Last Post following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s commendation over the Queen’s coffin and a blessing pronounced by the Dean of Westminster. Two minute’s silence followed across the country before Reveille was sounded by the trumpeters before the National Anthem was sung by the congregation.
Prince Charles looked tearful at points of the service while his sister Princess Anne looked at him with concern and care before fixing her own stare on her mother’s coffin and crown. Prince Andrew looked moved – having been fighting back tears as the family marched behind the Queen’s coffin through Parliament Square. King Charles III sat at the head of the family next to Princess Anne, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex behind him in the second row, after more than a week leading the monarchy and the nation in mourning his mother the Queen.
Prince William, who marched with his brother behind the coffin, was on the front row next to Prince George, who was reading the order of service during the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon, before singing hymns, while Princess Charlotte was seen whispering to her mother, who with William decided to bring them to say goodbye to their great-grandmother.
The King looked very emotional during the singing of the national anthem at Westminster Abbey. Charles remained silent during the song, while his siblings and members of the royal family sang along. Gripping his ceremonial sword, Charles looked downcast as he started straight ahead while a piper played Sleep, Dearie, Sleep. The UK’s most important church, packed with 2,000 VIPs including prime ministers, presidents and the Queen’s family, was serene aside from the sound of hymns and prayers in a funeral service Her Majesty has curated herself before she died.
The Queen’s funeral drew to a close with a lament played by The Sovereign’s piper and her coffin has been carried from Westminster Abbey to be placed on the State Gun Carriage. The strains of the lament, ‘Sleep, dearie, sleep’, could still be heard echoing through the abbey as the piper walked off. Shortly after, as the organist played Bach’s Fantasia in C minor, soldiers of the bearer party entered from the South Quire Aisle. As the bearers moved slowly through the abbey to place the coffin once more on the gun carriage, they were followed in procession to the Great West Door by The King and Queen Consort along with other members of the Royal Family.
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