Queen Elizabeth II: from public pomp to a non-public household farewell

Queen Elizabeth II: from public pomp to a non-public household farewell

After the majestical funeral pomp and navy spectacle, unsurpassed within the nation’s residing reminiscence and watched the world over, the ultimate farewell to Queen Elizabeth II would belong solely to her household.

Evening had fallen as she was laid to relaxation subsequent to the Duke of Edinburgh within the George VI Memorial Chapel, Windsor, in non-public and away from cameras.

With solely her household current, it was an entirely intimate ceremony, one for a mom, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother who additionally was a Queen.

The distinction with the sooner grandeur of Britain’s official goodbye, with its pipers, buglers and muffled bells, its kings, queens, prime ministers and presidents within the gothic splendour of Westminster Abbey, couldn’t have been extra marked.

Or with the ritual and symbolism, burnished over centuries, of the committal service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Fort.

There, within the city she referred to as residence, the nation’s longest-reigning monarch was lastly divested of her earthly sovereign’s obligation when the imperial state crown, the orb and sceptre– her devices of state – have been faraway from her coffin and positioned on the excessive altar.

Her most senior official, the Lord Chamberlain, broke his wand of workplace, signifying the top of his service to her. The coffin gently sank by the quire flooring into the royal vault beneath.

The imperial state crown is faraway from the coffin on the committal service for the Queen at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Fort. {Photograph}: Reuters

The chapel stuffed with a piper’s lament, step by step ebbing into silence as he walked slowly away. Then got here a jolting, full-throated God Save the King.

In that second, as one reign had slowly pale, a brand new one had sprung.

It was the final the general public would see of its Queen, along with her household lastly reclaiming her burial for their very own.

It marked the top of a day that seamlessly wove the historic with the intimate with, maybe, essentially the most private of touches being the presence of Queen Elizabeth II’s two small great-grandchildren.

The picture of the small figures of Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, seven, on the centre of this immense state event, strolling by Westminster Abbey hand-in-hand with their dad and mom, the Prince and Princess of Wales, behind the coffin, was potent.

For the 2, now second and third in line to the throne, this will need to have been a frightening and extraordinary introduction to official royal life, strolling amongst 18 royals, together with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, by the hushed sea of black mourning gown and hats.

Earlier, the late Queen’s coffin had made its quick journey from Westminster Corridor to Westminster Abbey on the Victorian state gun carriage, pulled by 142 naval scores, to the wail and beat of 200 pipers and drummers.

The King led the procession of royals behind it. In Royal Navy No 1 uniform, freighted with medals, neck orders and sashes, his sword in place, Charles walked along with his sister, his brothers, his sons, the Queen’s grandson, Peter Phillips, nephew, Earl Snowdon, cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Anne’s husband, Sir Tim Laurence. Prince William was in uniform, Prince Harry was not. He was in morning gown.

Inside, the congregation had taken its seats because the tenor bell on the Abbey tolled for 96 minutes, one for annually of her life.

About 2,000 had been invited – together with world leaders, ambassadors, politicians and international royals – to this service of unprecedented scale within the abbey’s 1,000 yr historical past, and the primary monarch’s funeral right here in 262 years.

The late Queen’s six surviving former prime ministers, and their spouses, had walked to their seats in date order – Sir John Main, Sir Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa Might and, lastly, Boris Johnson. Her fifteenth prime minister, Liz Truss, appointed two days earlier than her demise, learn a lesson, as did Woman Scotland, secretary common of the Commonwealth.

Strict protocol dictated the US president, Joe Biden, sat within the space reserved for heads of state, about 14 rows again on the south transept, with realm governors generals and Commonwealth nations taking precedent in entrance.

The US president was behind Poland, and in entrance of the Czech Republic. Throughout the aisle was the Republic of Korea.

Abroad VIPs had earlier disgorged from coaches, shuttled en masse to the abbey from their muster level on the Royal Chelsea hospital to keep away from street congestion. Solely Biden’s “the Beast” armoured automobile was allowed particular direct abbey entry.

This was the stage on which so lots of the Queen’s most auspicious moments had performed. She took her coronation oath, and made her marriage ceremony vows, on the identical altar earlier than which her coffin now lay.

Pall bearers carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II into St. George’s Chapel.
Pall bearers carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II into St. George’s Chapel. {Photograph}: Reuters

Myrtle, grown from a sprig from her marriage ceremony bouquet, was organized now in her wreath, together with flowers in hues of gold, pink and deep burgundy to mirror the colors of the royal commonplace and grown in royal gardens. A handwritten card, tucked amongst them, learn merely: “In loving and devoted reminiscence. Charles R”.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, gave the sermon. “Folks of loving service are uncommon in any stroll of life. Leaders of loving service are nonetheless rarer,” he mentioned. “However in all instances those that serve shall be cherished and remembered when those that cling to energy and privileges are forgotten.

“The grief of this present day – felt not solely by the late Queen’s household however all around the nation, Commonwealth and world – arises from her ample life and loving service, now gone from us.”

Because the final submit carried out by state trumpeters pale, two minutes’ silence fell over the nation. The skies have been silent too – with no planes taking off from Heathrow. Then got here the reveille and nationwide anthem.

Because the Queen’s piper, Paul Burns, performed the lament Sleep, Dearie, Sleep, the King, Queen Consort, the Prince and Princess of Wales, their kids and the opposite royals adopted the coffin out.

The monumental navy procession that then escorted her coffin stretched previous London’s landmarks to Wellington Arch in a large wealthy ribbon of the gold, scarlet, blue and black of ceremonial uniforms; its size so lengthy that as its entrance reached Whitehall, its rear nonetheless stretched up Victoria Road. About 4,000 navy personnel from the UK and the Commonwealth have been concerned.

Westminster Abbey’s bell tolled absolutely muffled, as is conventional after the funeral of a monarch. Minute weapons fired from Hyde Park, and Massive Ben tolled because the cortege wound its method by Parliament Sq., Whitehall, Horse Guards, the Mall.

The nice funeral marches of Mendelssohn and Beethoven have been performed alongside the route. Because it handed Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s workers lined up outdoors, and bowed and curtsied in a single final act of obeisance.

At Wellington Arch, a royal salute and the nationwide anthem despatched her on her method – residence to Windsor within the state hearse.

It arrived within the city with its bonnet strewn with flowers thrown from the crowds that lined the 23-mile route.

In Windsor, they have been 10 deep on the street, many solely capable of seize its passing by holding cameraphones aloft. The fort’s Sebastopol and Curfew Tower bells tolled.

Her two corgis, Muick and Sandy, have been introduced into the fort’s quadrangle for the coffin’s arrival. Her fell pony, Emma, stood between the 1000’s of floral tributes on the grass method to the fort.

King Charles and members of the royal family follow behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is carried out of Westminster Abbey.
King Charles and members of the royal household comply with behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it’s carried out of Westminster Abbey. {Photograph}: Reuters

Beneath the silken banners of the Garter knights in St George’s Chapel, the place simply 17 months in the past she had sat alone at Prince Philip’s funeral, her coffin was borne into the chapel, previous a guard of honour and below the watchful eye of the Army Knights of Windsor.

This was a extra intimate and private service, with a lot of her previous and current workers invited, and prayers by ministers from Sandringham, Windsor and Crathie Kirk, the church buildings she was most conversant in.

The Dean of Windsor, the Proper Rev David Conner, knew her effectively.

“Right here, in St George’s Chapel, the place she so typically worshipped, we’re certain to recall to mind somebody whose uncomplicated but profound Christian religion bore a lot fruit. Fruit, in a lifetime of unstinting service to the nation, the Commonwealth and the broader world, but additionally (and particularly to be remembered on this place) in kindness, concern and reassuring look after her household and mates and neighbours,” he mentioned within the bidding.

There was one final public act for the King, her son, to undertake.

As the ultimate hymn, Christ Is Made the Certain Basis, ended, Charles walked slowly to the coffin and positioned the Queen’s firm camp color upon it.

The Lord Chamberlain’s damaged wand of workplace was positioned alongside. Each have been buried with the coffin, which was then step by step lowered because the Dean of Windsor recited Psalm 103.

The garter king of arms learn aloud the late Queen’s type and titles. The piper piped a lament.

A prayer was mentioned for the brand new King, and the nationwide anthem sung. It was the top.

At 7.30pm, the late Queen was laid to relaxation within the George VI Memorial Chapel, alongside Philip, “her energy and keep” all through virtually all of her 70 years’ reign, and close to to her mom, Queen Elizabeth, her father, King George VI, and the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret

“Us 4”, as George VI would check with his household, have been collectively as soon as extra.

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