Britain And The World Say Farewell To Queen Elizabeth II As She Lays To Rest
After a regal state funeral attended by world leaders and a historic final ceremonial procession through crowded London streets, Britain and the world say farewell to Queen Elizabeth II as she laid to rest on Monday.
After a year of deteriorating health, the longest-reigning monarch in British history passed away on September 8 at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland home. She was 96.
In 1965, Britain staged its final official burial for Winston Churchill, the nation's prime leader during World War II.
Then, when his coffin was being transported up the River Thames by boat, the cranes that formerly emptied the wealth of Britain's immense empire—which Elizabeth had inherited—were lowered out of respect.
Since then, Britain's influence on the world has significantly decreased, and its position in the modern era has grown more uncertain.
To honor the one and only queen that the majority of Britons have ever known, the nation will nevertheless delve deeply into its centuries-old traditions.
For days, a large number of regular people camped out to observe the extravagant pomp and pay their respects.
The queen's flag-draped casket was transported west to Windsor Castle following the funeral and crowned with the magnificent Imperial State Crown.
The family that formerly referred to themselves as "us four" is reunited in death when she is interred alongside her father, King George VI, her mother, Queen Elizabeth the queen mother, and sister, Princess Margaret.
She laid to rest next to her late husband, Prince Philip, who passed away last year at the age of 99.
Huge crowds gathered in London to witness the leisurely transfer of the queen's flag-draped coffin from Westminster Hall, where it had been lying in state since Wednesday, to a gun carriage. The coffin was topped with the imperial state crown, her orb, and scepter.
The gun carriage, which has been used at every state funeral since Queen Victoria's in 1901, was then dragged to Westminster Abbey by 142 junior enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy to the accompaniment of pipes and drums.
One minute before the service at 11 a.m., the tenor bell of the 1,000-year-old church tolled 96 times at one-minute intervals, one for each year of her life.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby lauded the queen's life of devotion and service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in his eulogy.
People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer.
He addressed the 2,000 attendees, which included Joe Biden of the United States and the emperor and empress of Japan, Naruhito, and Masako.
To the rhythmic strains of funeral marches, the coffin was then carried for three hours through the streets of London to Windsor Castle, which is located west of the metropolis.
A sea of uplifted arms, many holding cellphones, lined the route to capture the synchronized display of military prowess.
As spectators dropped flowers on the road and distant, muffled church bells rang, the final "God save the queen" chants could be heard.
The Dean of Windsor presided over a private funeral late on Monday in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, according to the royal family's official website.
According to a statement, the Queen and her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who passed away last year, were buried together.
48-year-old Army veteran Robert MacDonald was one of the thousands of people who lined the 3-mile (five-kilometer) Walk up to Windsor Castle.
“I was in the infantry for 26 years, so the queen was my boss,” he explained, adding that he wanted to “salute one last time as the hearse passed by.”
The military cortege passed the late queen's fell pony, Carltonlima Emma, which was standing by itself during the "long walk." Her last two corgi dogs, Muick and Sandy, met it at the castle.
After a year of deteriorating health, the queen, who was the longest-reigning monarch in British history, passed away on September 8 at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland home.
Along with his three siblings, her eldest son and heir apparent, King Charles III, accompanied the solemn processions through London while clad in ceremonial military garb.
They were accompanied by senior royals as well as Prince William, Prince Harry, and Charles's eldest son, Prince Charles.
George, 9 years old, and Charlotte, 7, who are William's two oldest children, also followed the coffin in Westminster Abbey.
King Charles, 73, and Camilla, 75, the Queen Consort, announced late Sunday that they had been "truly touched" by the outpouring of support from the people.
I wanted simply to take this opportunity to say thank you.
Britain, a nation that has seen significant change since the queen was crowned there in 1953, has dug deep into its centuries-old traditions to pay tribute to the only monarch that the majority of its citizens have ever known.
Student Naomi Thompson, 22, camped out amid the throngs at London's Hyde Park, said, "It's once in a lifetime."
London-based insurance dealer John MacKinnon, 49, continued, “Very spectacular, as it should be for a great queen. The ceremony was perfect in every way.
Others who couldn't attend the event in London gathered in theaters and churches throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to see it on giant screens.
Deep thought on Britain the queen ruled over, the legacies of its past, its present, and what the future may contain, as well as the virtues of lifetime service and the duty she came to represent throughout her 70-year reign, have been sparked by the queen's passing.