The world watched as Britain bid a final goodbye to its longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. The state funeral saw world leaders in attendance while the British public thronged the streets of London to honour the monarch.
To honour the fallen monarch, a church bell tolled 96 times, one for each year of her life. The Queen’s coffin was draped with the Royal Standard and atop it sat the Imperial State Crown, sparkling with almost 3,000 diamonds, and the sovereign’s orb and scepter.
A personal touch to the farewell
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.
“Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service, and in sure confidence to commit her to the mercy of God our maker and redeemer,” the dean of the medieval abbey, David Hoyle, told the mourners, as the funeral opened.
The service drew to a close with two minutes of silence observed across the United Kingdom, after which the attendees sang the national anthem, now titled “God Save the King.”
British people mourn their beloved Queen
Monday was declared a public holiday in honor of Elizabeth, who died on September 8. Hundreds of thousands of people descended on central London to partake in the historic moment. They jammed the sidewalks to watch the coffin wend its way through the streets of the capital after the service. As the procession passed Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence in the city, staff stood outside, some bowing and curtseying.
More people lined the route the hearse took from the capital to Windsor Castle, and many threw flowers at the convoy as it passed, some of which rested on top of the vehicle. A committal service was then held in St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of the castle where the queen spent much of her time and then the Queen will be laid to rest with her husband, Prince Philip, at a private family service.
As the queen’s 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 leashed of two of her beloved corgis, Sandy and Muick.
Millions more people tuned into the funeral live on television, and crowds flocked to parks and public spaces across the U.K. to watch it on screens. Even the Google doodle turned a respectful black for the day.
King Charles III’s thanks people for paying respect
On the evening before the funeral, Charles issued a message of thanks to people in the U.K. and around the world, saying he and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, have been “moved beyond measure” by the large numbers of people who have turned out to pay their respects to the queen.
(With inputs from AP)