Britain and the world said their last goodbyes to Queen Elizabeth II at a state funeral on Monday attended by presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers, and crowds who lined the streets of London to honor a monarch whose 70-year reign defined an era.
The trappings of state and monarchy abounded: the coffin was draped with the royal standard and on top was the imperial state crown, glittering with nearly 3,000 diamonds, and the sovereign’s orb and sceptre. But the personal was there, too: a handwritten note from his son, King Charles, that read “In loving and devoted memory” and was signed Charles R, for Rex, or King.
Elizabeth’s funeral procession arrived at the west gate of the medieval abbey shortly before the service at 11am local time. Pallbearers lifted the casket from the state gun carriage and carried it inside the Gothic structure.
David Hoyle, the dean of Westminster, began the service by offering prayers for his family and acknowledging “their unwavering commitment to a high calling for so many years”.
The service, which took place where Elizabeth was married in 1947 and crowned in 1953, was attended by 2,000 people, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron. In addition, around 200 members of the British public previously recognized during this year’s Queen’s Jubilee for their volunteer efforts attended.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke at the service, telling the congregation that the pain felt by so many in Britain and around the world reflected the late monarch’s “abundant life and loving service.”
“Her late Majesty stated in a 21st birthday broadcast that her entire life would be dedicated to serving the nation and the Commonwealth,” it said. “Rarely has a promise like this been kept so well. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen.”
You can watch live coverage of the queen’s funeral right now on CBC TV, CBC News Network, CBC Gem, CBCNews.ca and the CBC News app. At noon ET, the broadcast will head to Ottawa for a national memorial ceremony.
CBC News Network will broadcast the funeral at 7 pm ET.
CBC Radio One’s live coverage of the funeral began at 5:30 a.m. ET and is also available on the CBC Listen app.
Near the end of the service, two minutes of silence were observed in the Abbey and throughout the United Kingdom. Then the congregation sang God save the kingwith a piper’s lament ending the Anglican service.
The service was followed by a procession through the streets of London to carry the Queen’s coffin to Windsor, where there will be an engagement service and a private service for members of the Royal Family.
During the procession, gun salutes were fired in nearby Hyde Park, and Big Ben sounded at minute intervals during the procession.
Elizabeth will later be buried in the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her husband, Prince Philip, her parents, and the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.
Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, died last year at the age of 99.
Many spectators camped out overnight in London and outside Windsor Castle to catch a glimpse of the procession. Some came with blankets and bags of food, while others carried small stools.
Sarah Grant normally hosts parties at her home in Sussex for royal events, but this time she came in person. Grant stood in line wearing a black hat that her mother wore at the funeral of King George IV in 1952.
“The queen has done a wonderful service for 70 years,” he told CBC News. “We wanted to soak up the atmosphere to see what she was like.”
Charles ‘moved beyond measure’
A packed day of funeral events in London and Windsor began early as the doors to 900-year-old Westminster Hall were closed to mourners after hundreds of thousands had filed in front of the Queen’s coffin since September 14. Many of them had had cold nights. outdoors to pay their respects at the foot of Elizabeth’s flag-draped coffin in a poignant outpouring of national grief.
The ward’s closure marked the end of four full days for the coffin in state and the start of the UK’s first state funeral since the one held in 1965 for Winston Churchill, the first of 15 prime ministers during Elizabeth’s reign. Two days before her death on 8 September at her Balmoral summer retreat, the Queen appointed her last Prime Minister, Liz Truss.
Monday has been declared a public holiday in honor of Elizabeth, who died on September 8 aged 96, and up to a million people are expected to line the streets of London along the route of the funeral procession.
Police officers from across the country will be on duty as part of the largest one-day security operation in London’s history.
The night before the funeral, King Charles sent a message of thanks to the people of the UK and around the world, saying he and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, had been “moved beyond measure” by the large number of people who have turned out to pay their respects to the Queen.
In Canada, a memorial service will be held at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Monday beginning at 1 pm ET. Live coverage from the Canadian capital begins at noon ET.
Former prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Joe Clark chose to attend the ceremony in Ottawa, sources told the CBC. Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson will attend the Ottawa ceremony, according to a government news release.
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