Hundreds of thousands of people and some 500 heads of state said goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday in a funeral service that lasted all day starting at Westminster Abbey and ending 40 kilometers from London, at Windsor Castle, where the The monarch was buried next to her husband, Philip of Edinburgh, and her parents.
In a country known for pomp and circumstance, this was the first state funeral since Winston Churchill’s in 1965. It was full of ritual: before the service, a bell was rung 96 times, once a minute for each year of life. of Elizabeth. Then 142 Royal Navy sailors used ropes to pull the gun cart that carried his flag-draped coffin to Westminster Abbey. The pallbearers carried him inside. Some 2,000 people, from world leaders to ordinary workers, gathered to honor her alongside the royal family.
The nave was decorated with the adornments of the State and the monarchy: the coffin was covered with the royal standard and on top was placed the imperial crown, which shone with almost 3,000 diamonds, the orb and the sovereign’s scepter, which Elizabeth II wielded for the coronation in June 1953.
But the personal was also present: the coffin was followed by generations of Elizabeth’s descendants, including King Charles III, the heir apparent, who shed a tear as he entered the Abbey, his three brothers, Prince William, the new Prince of Wales, and his 9-year-old son Jorge, second in line to the throne. In a wreath on the casket, a handwritten note read, “In loving and devoted memory,” signed by Charles R.for Rex or king in Latin.
“Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from all over the country, from the British Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service and with the sure trust to deliver it to the mercy of God, our maker and redeemer,” the dean of the medieval abbey, David Hoyle, told mourners.
The service ended with two minutes of silence observed throughout the UK. Even the national airports closed operations for half an hour to guarantee absolute silence. Then the attendees sang the national anthem, now “God Save the King.”
The day started early, when the doors to the 900-year-old Westminster Hall annex were closed to the public after hundreds of thousands filed past the coffin.
Monday was declared a public holiday in honor of the late queen, who died on September 8. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to central London to witness what many observers see as the end of an era.
They filled sidewalks and gardens to see the funeral procession go through the streets of the capital after the service. As the procession passed Buckingham Palace, the queen’s official city residence, staff stood outside. Some bowing and bowing. Many crying.
Mark Elliott, 53, who traveled from the Lake District in northern England with his wife and two children to watch the procession, got up at 1:30 a.m. to find a good spot to watch. close to the palace.
“I know we didn’t know the queen, but she’s been our head of state for seventy years, you feel like you know her, you feel like she’s part of the family. It’s a moving thing,” she told the BBC.
More people lined the route the hearse took from the capital to Windsor Castle, with many throwing flowers at the procession as it passed. Millions more tuned in to the funeral live and crowds flocked to parks and public spaces across the UK to watch it on giant screens. Even the tough guy from Google became a respectful black for the day.
When the coffin arrived at Windsor Castle, there were poignant reminders of her love of animals: a stable boy stood by the side of the road with one of his ponies, Emma, and two palace staff cared for two of them. his corgis, Sandy and Muick, at the entrance to the Castle.
During the burial ceremony in St George’s Chapel on the castle grounds, Windsor Dean David Conner praised Elizabeth for her “lifetime of tireless service” to the nation, but also for her “kindness, concern and care”. from your family, friends and neighbors. ”
Then the crown, orb, and scepter were removed from the coffin and placed on the altar, separating them from the queen for the last time. Her coffin was lowered into the royal vault through an opening in the floor of the chapel.
King Carlos III looked tired and excited as those present sang the national anthem.