The Queen’s State Funeral – goodbye to Elizabeth II

On Monday, the Queen was finally laid to rest, after 11 days of official mourning. The funeral took place at Westminster Abbey, with a more intimate committal at St George’s Chapel, Windsor later that day.

The last person to see the Queen lying in state filed past at 6.30am, when the doors to Westminster Hall were closed.

The royal coffin was taken from the Houses of Parliament just a few hundred metres, across to Westminster Abbey, shortly before 11am. The gun carriage was pulled by 140 sailors – the most notable feature of a State Funeral – and members of the Queen’s family followed behind in a procession. The King and his siblings, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Sussex and Peter Phillips were all present in the procession.

Sailors from the Royal Navy pull the gun carriage bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, during her funeral

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Music accompanied the procession, with the tones of bagpipes underscoring the sadness of the proceedings.

Pink shades dominated the floral wreath from King Charles III, which read ‘In loving and devoted memory, Charles R’.

As the procession arrived at Westminster Abbey, additional members of the family joined the procession. We saw The Queen Consort, The Princess of Wales, The Countess of Wessex, The Duchess of Sussex stand next to their husbands in the procession and walked behind the Queen’s coffin.

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The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey ; the coffin was borne by Grenadier Guards and followed by a procession of members of the Royal Family, including The King

Notably also in attendance were Prince George and Princess Charlotte, nine and seven respectively, who were impeccably behaved throughout the day. Charlotte wore a hat and small horseshoe brooch, which was a gift from the late Queen, and also is believed to be her first time wearing jewellery. The royal siblings also walked in procession, behind their great-grandmother’s coffin.

In attendance at the Abbey were world leaders including Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron and Jacinda Ardern, as well as foreign royalty, like King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, and King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain.

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While the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the sermon, the service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster. Prime Minister Liz Truss gave a reading of the Second Lesson. Ms Truss was the Queen’s 15th Prime Minister who had taken office just days before the end of the late Queen’s reign.

One of the music choices was touching, having been performed at the Queen’s 1947 wedding to Prince Philip – ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’.

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The service also featured a specially commissioned choral piece, composed by the Master of The King’s Music, Judith Weir, ‘Like as the hart’. The piece was inspired by the late Queen’s Christian faith.

Another of the hymns chosen for the funeral was the short anthem of ‘O Taste and see how gracious the Lord is’. It was sung by the Choir and was composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.

To mark the end of the service at Westminster Abbey, The Last Post was sounded by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry from the steps of the Lady Chapel. A two minutes’ silence across the UK for a moment of reflection.

Many users on social media applauded the bearer party, 10 men from the Grenadier Guards, who carried and oversaw the transport of the Queen’s coffin at each stage.

The Grenadier Guards were the first military affiliation the Queen had as a young Princess, making it a fitting way to end her life.

Shortly after 12pm, the coffin was once more placed on the gun carriage; the carriage had been used many royal funerals since Queen Victoria, including those of Elizabeth II’s mother and father. It was then through the streets of central London, to allow the crowds a final farewell, before heading to Windsor Castle.

Upon reaching Hyde Park Corner, in front of the Royal Family, the coffin was placed inside the royal hearse, which had been specially commissioned by the Queen herself for the occasion. It was constructed so that there would be maximum visibility for such journeys.

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We also saw a sweet moment between Princess Charlotte and Prince George, as Charlotte was seen telling her older brother to bow his head as the coffin passed by.

Mourners threw single flowers onto the road and car as it made its 20-mile journey west.

Approaching Windsor Castle from the Long Walk, thousands of people had gathered at the Queen’s favourite residence to say their goodbyes to the longest-serving British Monarch in history.

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Touchingly, we saw the remaining corgis, Sandy and Muick, as well as Emma, the fell pony the Monarch rode up until just a few months ago, brought out for this part of the day.

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Floral tributes were arranged on the last part of the Long Walk, spaced equally, creating a carpet of flowers for the cortege to pass. Members of the public applauded the Queen one last time.

In the Quadrangle, the royal procession resumed, with The King leading his family members down to Lower Ward and St George’s Chapel.

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Some of the music we heard during the Committal Service was composed by Sir William Henry Harris, who served as the Organist of St George’s Chapel between 1933 and 1961, throughout the Queen’s childhood. It is thought he taught a young Elizabeth how to play the piano.

A tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh, the choir sang ‘The Russian Contakion of the Departed’, which was also sung at his funeral in 2021.

The Dean of Windsor also read out Revelation 21, verses 1-7, which were read out at the funeral of King George V in 1936, Queen Mary in 1953 in 1953, King George VI in 1952, her grandparents and father respectively.

The final part of the proceedings included removing the Imperial State Crown, and the Orb and Sceptre from the coffin, which had been atop for days since the Queen returned to London. It was the Crown Jeweller’s job to remove these, handing them to the Dean of Windsor to be placed upon the altar; this was the notable phsyical separation of the Monarch and the body. These pieces will be King Charles’ for use.

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We were also able to see how these had been fixed onto the coffin, which had noticeably not moved, despite some bumpy terrain: the Crown was on a moulded pillow, that filled a segment of the inside, while the sceptre was held by two supporting fittings. The orb was sat in a gold stand, that fixed onto a fitting in the coffin lid.

Charles placed The Queen’s Company Camp Colour on top of the coffin, while the Master of the Household broke his wand of office to signify the end of his service. Both of these were buried with the Queen in the George VI vault, where she joins her husband, parents and sister to lie at rest.

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george vi vault at windsor

George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

A lone piper played a moving lament to finish the Windsor service, before the Royals privately interred their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in a service later that evening.

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