Queen Elizabeth II has begun the journey to her last resting place at Windsor after a momentous state funeral at Westminster Abbey, attended by world leaders and British residents mourning the nation’s longest-serving monarch.
Vast crowds thronged the route of the Queen’s coffin, ready for it to make its means from the abbey by means of the center of ceremonial London to Wellington Arch, earlier than being taken west to Windsor for a non-public ceremony of committal.
The state funeral, the primary held in Britain since Winston Churchill’s loss of life in 1965, got here on the finish of 10 days of nationwide mourning in Britain, a interval that noticed the nation come collectively to mark a dislocation in its historical past but in addition a second of unity and continuity.
The Queen’s coffin was on Monday morning introduced on a gun carriage to the abbey from the cavernous silence of Westminster Hall, the place she had laid in relaxation for 4 full days; her lying-in-state ended at 6.30am on Monday.
Hundreds of hundreds of individuals from all over the world had joined “the queue” — a line stretching for 5 miles alongside the banks of the river Thames — to pay tribute to the Queen, who reigned for 70 years. People within the queue spoke of a uncommon sense of obligation and camaraderie.
Before the funeral King Charles mentioned he was “deeply touched” by the help he had obtained from the world over. The King mentioned he and Camilla, the Queen Consort, had been “moved beyond measure”.
The state funeral, whose order of service and hymns had been agreed in session with the late Queen, noticed a unprecedented solid of world leaders drawn to London to recollect a lady whose reign spanned the beginning of the trendy age.
US president Joe Biden, French president Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Emperor Naruhito — making his first journey exterior his nation since ascending the throne in 2019 — joined European royalty within the abbey, the place the late Queen was married and topped.
Around 200 key employees and volunteers, recognised within the Queen’s Birthday Honours record in June, had been additionally invited to attend. The leaders of Russia, Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela had been amongst these left off the visitor record.
The 10 days of rigorously choreographed mourning had been meant to supply ample house for grief but in addition to mark the position of the British royal household as a supply of continuity in nationwide life. Westminster Abbey has been the venue for royal coronations since William the Conqueror in 1066.
The Queen’s great-grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, joined the King and different members of royal household because the coffin processed by means of the abbey. The occasion was anticipated to have been watched by one of many world’s greatest ever dwell broadcast audiences.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, famous in his sermon that “those who serve” can be remembered longer than “those who cling to power and privilege”, a comment which may have resonated with a few of the politicians gathered within the abbey.
He additionally recalled the late monarch’s nationwide broadcast through the Covid pandemic: “Service in life, hope in death: all who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: ‘We will meet again.’”
While large crowds assembled in central London on a particular financial institution vacation to witness the ceremony in individual, screens had been additionally erected in cathedrals and theatres across the nation; round 125 cinemas had been anticipated to display screen the funeral.
Those attending the state funeral in individual started arriving lengthy earlier than it began at 11am, with lots of the world leaders arriving on buses as a significant safety operation swung into motion. Around 10,000 cops had been on obligation on the occasion together with 1,500 troopers.
Roads and bridges had been shut to site visitors whereas a hoop of metal, together with 23 miles of limitations to manage crowds and preserve areas safe, was arrange.
There has been debate this week within the media about whether or not Britain’s sombre and united response to the Queen’s passing, together with the spectacular ceremony, is a reminder of the nation’s greatness or a distraction from its many issues.
But whereas this week many world leaders will assemble for the final meeting of the UN in New York, on Monday the gothic church of Westminster Abbey was briefly the point of interest of world energy because the world remembered Elizabeth II.
Some of the mourners wiped away tears through the service, which started with the hymn chosen by the Queen herself: “The Day Thou Gavest, Lord is Ended”.