Thousands attend the funeral for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch
Thousands gathered Monday to bid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II during a funeral and procession full of British tradition.
President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and more than 100 leaders from around the world attended the funeral at Westminster Abbey.
The queen’s coffin was wrapped in the bright, red and yellow Royal Standard.
On top of the coffin was a wreath, the Imperial State Crown, and the sovereign’s orb and scepter. On top of the crown was a ring that Edward the Confessor wore nearly a thousand years ago.
Soldiers/pallbearers carried the coffin up the aisle of Westminster Abbey and placed it in front of the royal family, including King Charles III and Queen Camilla; the presumptive future king, Prince William, now the Prince of Wales, and Princess Catherine, now the Princess of Wales; and a Montecito couple, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
“The Lord’s My Shepherd,” sang the congregation, which rose for the psalm.
The queen’s coffin was transported on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy to Westminster Abbey from Westminster Hall at 10:44 a.m. London time (2:44 a.m. Pacific time). This same carriage was used to transport King George VI, the queen’s father, in 1952 for his funeral, and it was also used in 1979 for the funeral of Lord Mountbatten, Prince Philip’s uncle.
The royal family, including King Charles III, Prince William and Prince Harry, walked behind the carriage. Members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines lined the route. And a guard made up of all the military services stood in Parliament Square, where the Royal Marines band played.
Two thousand guests filled Westminster Abbey for the funeral service. It was here that Queen Elizabeth received her crown in the first televised British coronation in 1953.
Dean of Westminster David Hoyle conducted the service, which featured a sermon by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and a scripture read by new Prime Minister Liz Truss. Queen Elizabeth II appointed Ms. Truss the prime minister at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland — two days before Her Majesty’s death on Sept. 8.
Ms. Truss read John 14:1, in which Jesus told his disciples, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”
In his sermon, Archbishop Welby praised the queen for her lifetime of service.
“People of loving service are rare in any walk of life,” he said. “Leaders of loving service are still rarer.”
And he noted, “Few leaders receive the outpouring of love we have seen.”
The archbishop went on to quote what Her Majesty said during her COVID-19 address to Britain: “We will meet again.”
“All who follow the queen’s example and inspiration of trust and faith in God can with her say: ‘We will meet again.’”
The service also featured psalms and anthems sung by Westminster Abbey’s all-male choir.
The program ended at 11:55 with the “Last Post,” a bugle call. That was followed by two minutes of silence (which was observed throughout the United Kingdom), then the national anthem and a lament performed by the queen’s piper.
After that came a long walk. The coffin was transported from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch as military personnel and police watched along the route. The walk stretched for more than a mile, and crowds tried to see the coffin.
The royal family, including King Charles III, Prince William and Prince Harry, walked behind the gun carriage carrying Her Majesty. Others from the royal family, including Queen Camilla, Princess Catherine and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, traveled in cars in the procession.
From Wellington Arch, the coffin was taken by the new State Hearse to Windsor Castle. It arrived around 3 p.m. London time, 7 a.m. Pacific time. An hour later, a committal service took place inside St. George’s Chapel, where the coffin had been taken. There were approximately 800 guests.
David Conner, the dean of Windsor, read a passage from Revelations that was also read at the funerals of the queen’s father, King George VI, and her grandfather, King George V.
After the ceremony, the queen was lowered into the royal vault, and the sovereign’s piper played. There was a blessing.
And “God Save the King” was sung.
At 7:30 p.m. London time, 11:30 a.m. Pacific, Queen Elizabeth was buried with Prince Philip during a private family service inside St. George’s Chapel.
With that, an era ended.