The world said a final goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, September 19. Hers was a full state funeral that was as somber as it was striking. Thousands of people lined up to glimpse her hearse, while others camped out in Hyde Park to pay their respects and watch the funeral on giant screens.
After an eventful seven-decade-long reign, Queen Elizabeth II breathed her last on Thursday, September 8. Before her funeral, she laid in state in London’s Westminster Hall from Wednesday, September 14, until this morning. A line of people backed up for over four miles and waited more than 12 hours to pass by the monarch’s coffin and bid her farewell.
The funeral was a touching tribute to a leader and a beloved matriarch. No less than 500 world leaders and dignitaries were in attendance, including US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss.
However, invitations to this historic event were not exclusive to rulers and heads of state. Nearly 200 “everyday people” who were honored during the Queen’s birthday celebration were asked if they would like to attend her funeral. These real-life heroes include a woman who records audiobooks for the blind, a lawyer who delivered free meals to people during the pandemic, and a domestic violence victim who helps teenagers overcome difficulties.
It was also a deeply personal event. As Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was taken from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey, its procession included King Charles III, his sons, the newly appointed Prince of Wales (William) and Duke of Sussex (Harry), and the King’s sister, the Princess Royal (Anne).
Once the procession was inside the abbey, Megan, the Duchess of Sussex, joined her husband, as did Katherine, the Princess of Wales, and her two eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. A handwritten note from the King to his mother sat atop the casket.
Before the funeral, the Tenor Bell of Westminster Abbey rang once a minute for 96 minutes, a toll for every year of the Queen’s life. Her piper drew the service to a close by playing “Sleep, Dearie, Sleep.” Queen Elizabeth II was lowered into the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, but she still has one final journey to make.
Later today, a private burial service will be held for Her Majesty’s family. Her casket will be moved from the vault to the George VI Memorial Chapel. Queen Elizabeth II will rest beside Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years, who died in April 2021. This would be a bittersweet end to the longest union in royal history and a beautiful goodbye to the longest-reigning British ruler.
Cover Image Credit: BBC