- The Queen’s coffin was carried from the palace to the Parliament
- William and Harry in the royal procession
- four days in the state
- Long queues of people to see the coffin
LONDON, Sep 14 (Reuters) – King Charles, his sons Princes William and Harry and other senior royals joined a solemn procession carrying Queen Elizabeth’s coffin as the late monarch made her last visit from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
Huge crowds gathered in central London to watch the Queen being escorted from the Palace to Parliament as artillery guns saluted and Big Ben tolled, the latest in a series of poignant celebrations as the nation mourns the Queen. Who died last week at the age of 96 after seven decades. on the throne.
Lying on a gun carriage covered with the royal standard flag and with the Imperial State Crown placed on a cushion topped with a garland of flowers, the coffin containing Elizabeth’s body was carried in a slow, gloomy procession from her London home to Westminster Hall . , There it will remain in the state for four days.
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Following directly behind were Charles and his siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Then in a group were Charles’ sons Princes William and Harry, who reminisce as boys 25 years earlier, when they followed the coffin of their mother, Princess Diana, when it was carried in a similar procession through central London. was taken in. read more
It was also a symbolic display of unity, as 40-year-old William, now Prince of Wales, and Harry, 37, Duke of Sussex, are said to have been barely in a position to speak after bitterness over the years.
“It was very touching to see the family. It was a powerful display of unity,” said 54-year-old Jenny Frame, who waited for more than four hours to watch the procession.
Paul Wiltshire, 65, commented: “I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like this again, or a Queen like that again. End of an era.”
Funeral marches in ceremonial scarlet uniforms and a military band playing soldiers, some with shiny silver breastplates and helmets, accompanied by a gun carriage pulled by the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, as it slowly through central London – progressed slowly, where many roads were closed to traffic. ,
Gunfire was fired every minute in Hyde Park, while Parliament’s famous Big Ben bell also rang at 60-second intervals. The crowd stood in a silence to watch the procession, but its passing erupted with thunderous applause. Some threw flowers.
Other senior royals, including Charles’ wife Camilla, now Queen’s consort, Kate, William’s wife and now Princess of Wales and Harry’s wife Meghan, traveled by car.
When the procession reached Westminster Hall, which has its origins in 1097 and is the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, which houses the British Parliament, the coffin was carried inside by Grenadier Guards soldiers and placed on a cathedral surrounded by candles. ,
A short service was followed, conducted by the spiritual head of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as seen by senior politicians. Holding Harry and Meghan’s hand, the royals walked away silently.
The four corners of the catacombs would be kept under constant vigil by the soldiers in full ceremonial uniform.
From 5 o’clock in the evening, the public started filing the coffin, some shed tears and many bowed their heads. During the four days of lying in the state, which will last until the morning of the funeral on September 19, there will be a continuous stream of mourners 24 hours a day.
“We’ve lost someone special,” said 72-year-old Kenneth Taylor, who was the first in the queue to stay overnight in a tent. He said he had a lump in his throat after seeing the queen lying on the stage. His service to the country was really steadfast and unshakeable.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Elizabeth had three major roles in her life: head of the family, head of the nation and head of state. Wednesday marked the moment the coffin passed from the family to the state.
People started waiting in line late Tuesday, sleeping on the street in the rain, being among the first to file the coffin, and there was already a queue more than 2 miles long.
Among those gathered, some were to represent elderly parents, others to look back at history and many to thank the woman who ascended the throne in 1952, just two days before she died. was holding official government meetings.
The government has warned that the queue could eventually stretch for 10 miles (16 km) along the southern bank of the River Thames, winding past landmarks such as the giant London Eye Ferris wheel and the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. read more
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said some people may have to stand in line for up to 30 hours to file a coffin before Monday’s funeral.
“She is the epitome of an icon,” said mourner Chris Imafidon. “I must at least bear this camp with respect.”
Speaking to those in the queue, Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, quipped: “We are honoring two great British traditions, to love the Queen and to love a Queer.”
Elizabeth’s coffin was brought back from Scotland to London late Tuesday, where it has been since her death at Balmoral Castle, her Scottish summer vacation home, with thousands lining the 14-mile (22 km) route in the driving rain. did.
In Scotland, St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh saw around 33,000 people pass through the coffin over the course of 24 hours, but the memorial in London is a much bigger occasion.
750,000 mourners are expected to walk through Westminster Hall to pay their last respects.
A senior palace official described Wednesday’s poignant contest as relatively short and personal. The full-scale ceremonial procession on the day of his funeral is likely to be one of the largest ever witnessed in the country.
Royalty, presidents and other world leaders are expected to attend, although none will be invited from some countries such as Russia, Afghanistan and Syria. read more
US President Joe Biden, who has said he will be there, spoke to the new king on Wednesday, the White House said, and “conveyed the American people’s great admiration for the queen”.
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Additional reporting by Farooq Suleman, William James, Elizabeth Piper, Muwiza M, Sachin Ravikumar, Hamza Jilani, Aiden Nulty and Manuel Oslus; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Alex Richardson, Alexandra Hudson
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