By Connor Steel
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE have been paying their final respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II during an official National Day on Mourning on Monday (September 19); her state funeral allowing the whole country to reflect on her longest ever reign of over 70 years as Monarch starting back in 1952 following the death of her father.
The declaration of a Bank Holiday saw closures of businesses and many factors of everyday life, with people deciding to pay tribute to Her Majesty throughout the day. One million people are reported to have travelled to London streets, whilst an unconfirmed figure of twenty-million people watched the proceedings live on TV.
A historic occasion started at precisely 10:44am with the Queen’s coffin moved from inside Westminster Hall, where it had been lying-in-state since last Wednesday. It was placed on a gun carriage and transferred by a procession to Westminster Abbey eight minutes later; the short route led by two hundred musicians including massed pipes and drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas, and the Royal Air Force.
The service started at 11am as Her Majesty’s coffin was brought into Westminster Abbey with the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle leading proceedings in front of over 2000 people in the congregation; covering UK politicians, world leaders, foreign dignitaries and members of the Royal Family including King Charles III.
The Dean opened by speaking passionately of Her Majesty the Queen’s “unswerving commitment to a high calling over so many years as Queen and Head of the Commonwealth”. He continued his warm remarks and tributes by adding that: “With admiration we recall her life-long sense of duty and dedication to her people,”
Hymns from the Queen’s 1953 coronation and wedding to Prince Phillip six years earlier were then sung at the service, whilst there was also short lessons read by recently appointed UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland; further known as readings from the scripture.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gave the sermon paying tribute to the late Monarch and the grief felt after her death, saying that: “The grief of this day – felt not only by the late Queen’s family but all round the nation, Commonwealth & (whole) world – arises from her abundant life & loving service, now gone from us.”
He concluded by saying “We will meet again”, a quote referenced by Her Majesty at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Prayers were offered by the Archbishop of York, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and finally the Free Churches Moderator.
A reading of the Lord’s Prayer was then read before the congregation stood to sing the hymn of “Love divine, all loves excelling”. This was previously sung at the wedding of then Prince of Wales (now King) and Camilla Parker Bowles (Queen’s Consort) in 2005, alongside that of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.
The poignant service concluded just before midday as five buglers played the Last Post, a sacred symbol of remembrance. It made way for two minutes of silence held nationwide and a rendition of the British National Anthem before the coffin was transferred outside of the Abbey in a silent procession from the bearing party.
From this point the coffin joined thousands of military personnel in a procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch from 12:20pm. The procession passed numerous landmarks associated to the Queen’s life including Parliament Square, The Cenotaph, The Mall, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace; gun salutes and the tolls of Big Ben briefly breaking up a hushed atmosphere of the thousands lining many London streets.
Arriving at Wellington Arch shortly after 1:15pm Her Majesty was lifted into hearse to begin a final journey to Windsor; loud cheers and flowers greeting the cortege as it left London for the last time. It reached the Albert Road Gate at 3:10pm and a new procession down the Long Walk to Windsor Castle was undertaken on foot.
Senior Royals soon joined the procession at 3:40pm watched by thousands of mourners in Windsor, a scene that replicated the earlier atmosphere as Her Majesty returned to her countryside estate. Entering the private grounds of Windsor Castle at 4pm a committal service was held in St George’s Chapel lasting thirty minutes.
The ceremony was led by the Dean of Windsor in front of eight hundred people, featuring all members of the Queen’s Household and Windsor Estate staff alongside her two corgis. Hymns, prayers and readings were undertaken before Her Majesty’s coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault to a poignant playing of the National Anthem; with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s Orb and Sceptre placed on the altar beforehand.
The late Monarch will remain within the vault until later this evening when a private family ceremony will take place at the King George VI memorial chapel, located inside St George’s Chapel. She is set to be buried with her late husband Prince Phillip, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and father King George VI alongside the ashes of her sister Princess Margaret; her marble slab said to be engraved with: ELIZABETH II 1926-2022.
Readers are encouraged to visit media sites such as BBC News, Sky News and ITV News for all developing updates throughout today, whilst the Globe will be publishing local reaction to the funeral when it’s available.
PICTURED BY ALAMY: Coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s Orb and Sceptre, is carried from her funeral held at Westminster Abbey, London.