Queen Elizabeth II funeral: Nation pays final farewell

The nation has paid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, with a state funeral and military procession, BBC reported.

World leaders and foreign royalty joined King Charles III and the Royal Family in the congregation at Westminster Abbey.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets as the coffin was taken to Windsor where she was laid to rest.

At the funeral, the Dean of Westminster paid tribute to the Queen’s “lifelong sense of duty”.

The Very Rev David Hoyle spoke of her “unswerving commitment to a high calling over so many years as Queen and Head of the Commonwealth”.

The day began with final respects being paid by members of the public who had queued up to see the Queen’s lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.

Then, in a spectacle not seen for generations, her coffin – on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy, drawn by 142 sailors – was taken in a solemn procession to Westminster Abbey.

King Charles III walked alongside his siblings, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex walked side-by-side behind their father along a route lined by representatives of all parts of the military.

As the funeral procession entered the abbey, world leaders, politicians and foreign royalty stood as her coffin was carried up the aisle to be placed on a catafalque, draped in the royal standard with the Imperial State Crown, orb and sceptre on top.

Some of the youngest members of the family were in attendance at the abbey – the Queen’s great-grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte, aged nine and seven, sat with their parents the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Prime Minister Liz Truss and her husband Hugh O’Leary were present alongside cabinet ministers and all of the UK’s surviving former prime ministers, seated in the abbey’s quire.

About 100 presidents and heads of government joined the 2,000-strong congregation at the abbey – as well as US President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, there were French President Emmanuel Macron, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan.

Europe’s royal families were strongly represented – with kings and queens from Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and The Netherlands. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II – now Europe’s longest-reigning monarch – sat opposite King Charles close to the coffin.

The Emperor and Empress of Japan also attended, alongside other overseas royalty including Malaysia’s King and Queen and King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan.

The religious service heard church leaders highlight the affection in which the Queen has been held by many people.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer.

“But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.”

He also spoke of how the Queen had declared on her 21st birthday “that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth”.

He added: “Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love we have seen.”

Westminster Abbey is bound up with parts of the Queen’s own personal history – it was where she was married and where her coronation took place. Her funeral heard Psalm 23 – The Lord Is My Shepherd, which was sung at her wedding.

As the abbey service came towards its end, the Last Post was played – by the same musicians who performed it at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral at Windsor last year – before the nation came to a standstill for two minutes’ silence.

The Queen’s piper then played a traditional lament before the King stood silently as the national anthem was sung.

Among the personal touches at the ceremony was a handwritten message from the King, which was placed on top of the coffin in a wreath of flowers cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Highgrove House and Clarence House at his request. It read: “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.”

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