“A real privilege”: she was the last mourner at the queen’s coffin

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“A real privilege”
She was the last mourner at the Queen’s coffin

People had about four days to walk past the queen’s coffin. But the public display is over. The woman who last bid farewell to the monarch at Westminster Hall is Chrissy Heerey. For her it was “one of the highlights of my life”.

Mourners are said to have queued for up to 24 hours to pay their last respects to the queen at the closed casket. But since Monday morning, the public farewell has come to an end. Construction ended at 6:30 am local time (7:30 am GMT) in Parliament-owned Westminster Hall. The coffin containing Elizabeth II’s remains was then taken to Westminster Abbey, where a funeral service will be held at 12 noon with approximately 2,000 invited guests.

Over the past four days, an estimated 750,000 people lined up to get a glimpse of the coffin. And as always in such cases: someone has to be last in line. In the event of the Queen’s public farewell, her name will be Chrissy Heerey.

She stood in line twice

TV footage shows Heerey bowing to the closed coffin in Westminster Hall early Monday morning. “I was the last person to pay my respects to the Queen and it felt like a real privilege to do so,” the British Air Force member said afterwards. “It’s one of the highlights of my life,” Heerey added.

Heerey told the BBC that it felt “very surreal” for her to finally stand by the Queen’s coffin. “I couldn’t believe I was there,” she explained. “I just felt really honored to have the chance to go there and see her and say goodbye.” In fact, Heerey seized the opportunity twice: for the past few days, she’d been queuing up to walk past the coffin.

The BBC also interviewed the penultimate person for the coffin, Sima Mansouri. The Iranian-born but London-based woman explained that she and Heerey are now “friends forever” after meeting first in line. Heerey was “a little nervous” about her role as a taillight on the series, Mansouri said. “But I told her, don’t worry. I’m here for you. I’m here.’

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