Burying Queen Elizabeth II: Saying Goodbye to a Monarch of the Century
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Burying Queen Elizabeth II
Saying goodbye to an ancient monarch
19/09/2022, 9:01 pm
Tears, flowers, applause: hundreds of thousands celebrate their late queen for the last time during the funeral procession in London. The guest list of the service is exquisite. Not just King Charles III. is deeply touched. Many eyes are on the youngest members of the royal family.
The world said goodbye to the Queen with one of the largest state funerals in history. In front of millions of TV viewers around the world, a grieving nation in London and Windsor paid their last respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. Countless heads of state and monarchs took part in the unprecedented funeral ceremonies, some of whom had come from afar. Hundreds of thousands lined the streets for the event of the century.
You can also read about the day’s events in our live funeral ticker.
King Charles III seemed moved as he and his immediate family escorted his mother’s coffin through the British capital. The 73-year-old had tears in his eyes. “Grief is the price we pay for love,” the Queen once said. The Queen’s great-grandchildren, Prince George, future king, and Princess Charlotte, also accompanied their parents Prince William and Princess Kate in the funeral procession.
In the afternoon, the Queen’s body was returned to her residence in Windsor, west of London. There she would be buried in a private ceremony with her husband Prince Philip after a funeral service. The royal insignia – state crown, scepter and orb – were removed from the coffin.
Commentators spoke of an unprecedented spectacle in recent British history. The ceremony concluded the second Elizabethan era, British media reported. Elizabeth II sat on the throne for 70 years – longer than any other British monarch. She died on September 8 at the age of 96 at her Scottish estate, Balmoral Castle. Sympathy was great on the street. United in mourning, dozens of people threw flowers at the hearse as the vehicle took the Queen from the British capital for the last time to her beloved residence at Windsor Castle. Also waiting there were the Queen’s beloved corgis, now cared for by her second eldest son, Prince Andrew, and her favorite horse.
“It has something very connecting”
The state funeral was meticulously planned: at 11:44 a.m. (12:44 a.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 the nearby Westminster Abbey. About 2,000 guests attended a one-hour service there. In the abbey, the Queen married Prince Philip in 1947 and was crowned in 1953. Hours before the service, all areas along the funeral procession route were full. Newcomers were taken to 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 are good at that, we can do that. Tomorrow everything will be back to normal.”
London’s Liz Bosanquet, who attended the ceremony with her sons Tommy and Leo and other friends, said: “It was very moving, especially when everyone was quiet and then there was applause.” Bosanquet has a hard time imagining what the monarchy under King Charles will look like. “But I’m optimistic. There’s something very connecting about it,” she said. A salute rang out every minute of the funeral procession and the famous Big Ben bell rang regularly. A number of soldiers in dress uniforms walked past the places 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. King Charles was followed by the Queen’s other children – Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – in the funeral procession. Behind her were 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 bearers. At Windsor, the Royals rejoined the convoy.
As expected, Andrew and Harry did not 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 at Westminster Hall, they had previously exceptionally appeared in uniform. During the service, many eyes were on the youngest members of the royal family. Charlotte looked down a lot and wore a black hat with a bow over her long blond hair and a coat, her hands folded in front of her. George wore a dark blue suit with a white shirt and tie.
“In loving and faithful memory. Charles R.”
Her younger brother Prince Louis was not seen. Princess Kate and Harry’s wife, Duchess Meghan, appeared in black, but in different fashion styles. Kate wore a long-sleeved cloak dress, a hat with a veil over her face, and pearl earrings. She wore a pearl necklace from the queen. Meghan wore a cape dress with a striking hat and pearl earrings.
A good dozen queens and kings, plus sultans and even the Japanese Emperor Naruhito, who otherwise never attends funerals – there probably hasn’t been such an outstanding guest list in a long time. US President Joe Biden was also in attendance, as were 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, speaking at a reception with the monarch on Sunday, told ZDF.
The six surviving British ex-Prime Minister and incumbent Liz Truss also attended the state ceremony. The floral arrangements and music have been specially chosen for their symbolism for the queen. 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 acclaimed address to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic. Elizabeth II at the time encouraged her subjects, saying, “We will meet again.” At the end 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 a huge challenge for the authorities: the police, secret services and counter-terrorism units coordinated what is probably the largest security operation the city has ever witnessed. Meanwhile, the country stood still – schools and universities and shops remained closed almost everywhere. The event also had an impact on many people’s travel plans. More than 100 flights have been canceled at London’s Heathrow airport to allow for silence during the ceremonies.
Source: ntv.de, Benedikt von Imhoff, Christoph Meyer, Larissa Schwedes, Britta Schultejans, dpa