Home » Thousands Pay Tribute as Britain Says Final Farewell to Queen Elizabeth

Thousands Pay Tribute as Britain Says Final Farewell to Queen Elizabeth

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LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II was laid to relaxation on Monday after an imposing state funeral that drew tens of hundreds of thousands of Britons collectively in an enormous expression of grief and gratitude, as they bade farewell to a sovereign whose seven-decade reign had spanned their lives and outlined their occasions.

It was the fruits of 10 days of mourning because the queen died on Sept. 8 in Scotland — a extremely choreographed collection of rituals that fell amid a deepening financial disaster and a fraught political transition in Britain — and but every little thing concerning the day appeared destined to be etched into historical past.

Tens of 1000’s of individuals lined the route of the cortege previous the landmarks of London. In Hyde Park, individuals watching the service on giant screens joined in “The Lord’s Prayer” when it was recited at Westminster Abbey. 1000’s extra cheered, many strewing flowers within the path of her glass-topped hearse, because the queen’s coffin was pushed to Windsor Fortress, the place she was buried subsequent to her husband, Prince Philip.

“On this altering world, she was a pillar of the outdated world,” mentioned Richard Roe, 36, who works in finance in Zurich and flew house for the funeral. “It’s good to have one thing that’s secure and stands for good values.”

An unbroken thread of unhappiness ran by the day, but additionally an acute sense of uncertainty. The queen, who died at 96, was one of many final dwelling hyperlinks to World Conflict II and the twilight of Britain’s imperial age. The nation she embodied with such dignity has essentially modified.

A brand new Britain is taking form among the many various crowds that turned out with their iPhones and Instagram accounts to doc the funeral. However its contours, and the position of the monarchy, are nonetheless up for grabs, as individuals wrestle with much less regal considerations like rising gasoline and electrical energy payments, and a looming recession.

On Tuesday, Britain will return to wrestling with the gravest financial disaster in a technology. Fears about its public funds have pushed the pound to its lowest ranges in opposition to the greenback since 1985. The survival of the monarchy’s far-flung realm is in query, as Caribbean nations debate whether or not to solid off the king as their head of state.

Britain’s unsure future, nonetheless, was a matter for one more day, because it paid tribute to one of many nice symbols of its previous. Greater than 100 world leaders, together with President Biden and Emperor Naruhito of Japan, converged on London, the most important such gathering because the funeral of Nelson Mandela in 2013 in South Africa.

Years within the planning, the tribute to the queen was each intimate and grand: from the gun carriage that carried her flag-draped coffin by the streets of London to a lone bagpiper enjoying his lament, its haunting strains carried aloft within the hushed nave of Westminster Abbey.

“The sample of many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after loss of life,” the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, mentioned in a eulogy that appeared to talk to a world affected by misrule. Not so of Elizabeth, of whom he mentioned: “Few leaders obtain the outpouring of affection that we now have seen.”

To guage by the tear-streaked faces, and the cries of “God bless the queen,” within the streets and parks, his phrases weren’t an overstatement.

“She is every little thing that I’m proud to be British about,” mentioned Bea McArthur, 38, a hospital employee who traveled from Hampshire, England, on Friday, tenting out together with her two daughters and a buddy to safe a spot within the entrance row of the parade route.

“She made a promise when she was 21, and he or she didn’t falter,” Ms. McArthur mentioned. “When she first grew to become queen, there weren’t many ladies in highly effective roles, and he or she blew everybody else out of the water.”

Mr. Roe, the Zurich businessman, was extra upbeat. “I believe individuals have handled the grief aspect of it now,” he mentioned. “That is extra of a final goodbye, a celebration.”

The service was additionally designed to showcase Britain’s imperial historical past, its constitutional democracy and its Commonwealth. The carriage used for the queen’s coffin was first used for that function in Queen Victoria’s funeral in 1901. The brand new prime minister, Liz Truss, learn from the Gospel of John, whereas the secretary normal of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, learn from Corinthians (“O loss of life, the place is thy sting?”).

Archbishop Welby described the queen as a beacon of hope. He recalled a speech she gave in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, when she promised Britons enduring isolating lockdowns, “We’ll meet once more,” the chorus of a cherished World Conflict II-era music by Vera Lynn.

“All who comply with the queen’s instance, and inspiration of belief and religion in God,” he declared, “can together with her say, ‘We’ll meet once more.’”

Britain has not held a state funeral since 1965, when it buried Winston Churchill, the wartime chief who acted as a mentor to a younger Elizabeth after she unexpectedly got here to the throne on the loss of life of her father, King George VI, in 1952.

There have been echoes of that historical past because the queen’s cortege rolled previous statues of Churchill and George VI. However there have been additionally glimpses of the royal household’s future. Prince George, 9, who’s the elder son of Prince William and second in line to the throne, stood within the entrance row on the abbey, alongside along with his 7-year-old sister, Princess Charlotte. Each sang dutifully from their hymnals.

The brand new king, Charles III, was a quiet presence on a day dedicated to his mom. On her coffin, subsequent to a wreath of roses, hydrangea and dahlias — all organized, by order of the king, with out using floral foam to make it extra sustainable — he had left a handwritten word, “In loving and devoted reminiscence, Charles R.”

He marched behind the coffin because it was conveyed to Westminster Abbey from Westminster Corridor, the place she had lain in state for 4 days, seen by tens of 1000’s of individuals, together with dignitaries like Mr. Biden and unusual individuals who lined up in what grew to become referred to as “The Queue,” ready as much as 24 hours to pay their respects.

He marched behind it on its procession up Whitehall, down The Mall and previous Buckingham Palace, earlier than reaching Wellington Arch, the place an honor guard transferred the coffin to the hearse. And he saluted as a army band performed a wistful final rendition of “God Save the Queen” when she departed.

The procession, a mile and 1 / 4 lengthy, projected the complete splendor of the monarchy: seven teams, every with its personal marching band; detachments from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the British armed forces; and mounted troopers from the Family Cavalry.

Charles, carrying a Royal Navy tailcoat and carrying a sword, was joined by members of the royal household, their turbulent current historical past traced of their alternative of gown. Prince Andrew, who served within the Royal Navy in the course of the Falklands Conflict, wore a morning go well with quite than a uniform, reflecting his banishment from royal duties due to his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sexual predator.

Prince Harry additionally wore a go well with due to his withdrawal from royal duties when he moved to the USA in 2020 along with his American-born spouse, Meghan. He had obtained the king’s permission to put on a uniform to face vigil over the queen’s coffin on Saturday, however it didn’t have her monogram, E.R., on its shoulders, denoting his diminished standing.

The royal household, Archbishop Welby mentioned, was grieving as any household would, however on this case, it needed to do it “within the brightest highlight.”

The highlight nonetheless shone vibrant, however the setting was extra intimate after the queen’s coffin arrived at Windsor, the turreted fortress the place she had spent most of her ultimate days, sequestered in the course of the pandemic. In April 2021, she buried Philip, her husband of 73 years, in an austere funeral at St. George’s Chapel there that was memorable for pictures of the queen, remoted and masked in a choir stall.

As her hearse rolled up the Lengthy Stroll, the tree-lined boulevard that results in the fortress, it was cheered by extra crowds and flanked by a detachment of the queen’s Grenadier Guards and Family Cavalry.

However because the cortege drew nearer to the fortress, these symbols of royal gave strategy to extra private reminders of the queen’s life there: her Fell pony, Emma, ears and tail twitching as she watched the cortege cross; and two of her corgis, Muick and Sandy, ready patiently by the door.

If something, the ceremony at Windsor, referred to as the committal, was much more laden with ritual than the funeral. Earlier than the ultimate hymn, the crown jeweler eliminated the imperial state crown, the orb and the scepter — valuable regalia symbolizing the crown — from the coffin and positioned them on the altar.

As a totem of the top of his service, the queen’s lord chamberlain, essentially the most senior officer within the royal family, broke his wand of workplace into two items and positioned them on to the coffin, to be buried along with his sovereign.

The coffin was then lowered into the royal vault, the place the queen was interred subsequent to Philip in a non-public household ceremony later within the night. As soon as once more, the queen’s piper performed a mournful lament, its sound dying out as he walked slowly away from the chapel.

In a final reminder of the monarchy’s continuity, the congregation sang, “God save the King.” Charles, his face bearing the load of grief and, maybe, the burdens of his new job, seemed on wordlessly.

Saskia Solomon and Emma Bubola contributed reporting.

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