Monday’s royal funeral for Queen Elizabeth II will be attended by presidents, monarchs, princes, and prime ministers, as well as up to a million people who will line the streets of London to bid the queen, whose 70-year reign defined an age, farewell.
After thousands of people had gathered in front of her casket since September 14, the 900-year-old Westminster Hall’s doors were closed to mourners, kicking off a day full of funeral activities in London and Windsor. In a heartbreaking display of national mourning, many of them had spent chilly nights outside paying their respects at the foot of the queen’s flag-draped coffin.
The casket had lain in state for four full days when the hall was closed, and that signaled the beginning of the U.K.’s first state funeral since that of Winston Churchill, the first of Elizabeth’s 15 prime ministers, in 1965. The queen nominated Liz Truss as her last prime minister two days before she passed away on September 8 at her Balmoral holiday residence.
Tracy Dobson, who is from Hertfordshire, a county to the north of London, was one of the last mourners to queue up to view the casket.
She stated, “She has done so much for us and just a small thank you truly from the people, I felt like I had to come and pay my last respects to our lovely queen.”
In honor of Elizabeth, who passed away on September 8 at the age of 96, Monday has been declared a holiday. More than 200 nations and territories will get live broadcasts of her funeral, which will also be shown for audiences in parks and public places all throughout the United Kingdom.
As part of the largest one-day policing operation in London’s history, police officers from all across the nation will be on duty.
The night before the burial, King Charles III sent out a note of gratitude to the people of the UK and the rest of the globe, expressing how he and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, had been “touched beyond measure” by the massive turnout of mourners.
“As we all prepare to say our final goodbye, I wanted merely to take this moment to say thank you to all those innumerable individuals who have been such a help and comfort to my family and myself in this time of grief,” he added.
Elizabeth’s coffin will be transported to Westminster Abbey for the funeral atop a royal gun carriage pulled by 142 Royal Navy sailors from Westminster Hall across the street. The late monarchs Edward VII, George V, and George VI, as well as Churchill, were all buried in the same casket.
The service, which was attended by 2,000 people including world leaders, medical professionals, and volunteers, will conclude with a moment of silence, the national anthem, and a piper’s lament. Then, the queen’s coffin will be carried to Wellington Arch, close to Buckingham Palace, in a procession surrounded by military units dressed in dress uniforms.
A committal ceremony will be held at St. George’s Chapel before the body is put in a hearse and taken to Windsor for another procession up the Long Walk, a three-mile (five-kilometer) route that leads to the town’s castle. At a private family funeral, she will later be put to rest beside her late husband, Prince Philip.
Authorities issued a warning that it would be highly busy, but central London was already crowded before daybreak on Monday with thousands looking for an excellent viewing location.
President of the United States Joe Biden was among the world leaders who paid their respects at Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Sunday as tens of thousands of police, hundreds of British soldiers, and an army of officials made final preparations for the funeral, which will be the largest gathering of world leaders in years and feature a spectacular display of national mourning.
At 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, people in Britain observed a minute of silence in honor of the one and only queen most of them had ever known. The steady stream of mourners inside Westminster Hall stopped for 60 seconds as they observed the minute of meditation in complete silence.
The throng in Windsor became quiet for a moment of thought as rain started to pour. Some others planned to spend the night outside Windsor Castle setting up tiny camps and seats in order to get the best viewing areas for the queen’s coffin when it comes.
“Well, it’s just one day and one night in our life. You know, Elizabeth gave us 70 years. Therefore, the remainder of it is not much to ask, is it? claimed 52-year-old Fred Sweeney, who furnished his location with two Union flags on substantial flag poles.
As he signed the condolence book, Biden described Queen Elizabeth II as “decent,” “honorable,” and “all about service,” adding that his heart goes out to the royal family.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose invitation prompted condemnation from human rights organizations due to the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, will be one absentee from Monday’s burial. It is anticipated that Prince Turki bin Mohammed, another royal, would represent Saudi Arabia.