September 19, 2022
(LONDON)—The world said its final goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday after the monarch made her final journey to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where she is now buried. The queen, who reigned for 70 years, passed away on Sept. 8 at her Balmoral estate in Scotland at the age of 96.
The state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, began at 11 a.m. BST with a ceremony that brought together some two thousand leaders from all around the world, including the U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. After two minutes of silence, the coffin of the late monarch left Westminster Abbey in a solemn procession to its final resting place outside the city.
With the grieving royal family sitting nearby, the newly elected British Prime Minister Liz Truss read a poem to honor the queen. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who delivered the sermon, described Queen Elizabeth as having touched “a multitude of lives” and being a “joyful” figure for many.
Alongside heads of states and foreign royalty, thousands of people came to London to be part of what is considered the most-watched event in history.
“I flew here from the Netherlands today. I wanted my children to see it. We have friends here who let us stay at their place so we could watch history being written,” says Jon, 35, who traveled to London together with his children Amalia and Luke.People had been waiting outside Westminster Abbey for hours prior to the ceremony, some for an entire day. They brought tents, food, and winter jackets to keep them warm. Thousands of spectators occupied the roads around the route, where the funeral procession with the queen’s coffin later passed. Big screens were put up in cities across the country, where people could watch the funeral from afar. Some cinemas, pubs, and other venues showed the once-in-a-generation event.
Shortly before the final procession, behind the Abbey gates, a group of people were waving both American and British flags.
”We came to London on a holiday that we had planned for a year. And then, the queen died. Of course we had to attend,” says 28-year-old Timothy from Washington, D.C. His girlfriend, Anna, added that she is glad President Biden flew in to pay his respects. “I voted for him, so I am glad he is here representing our country.”
“Czech Republic? That’s unbelievable!” Prince William told two Czech visitors, adding that the queen would not have believed the turnout and all of the people traveling to the ceremony from abroad, according to a Sky News video.
The royal family, led by the new King Charles III, arrived at the funeral shortly before the beginning of the ceremony and after the attendants were seated. He was joined by his wife Camilla, the queen consort.Prince William and Princess Kate were joined by Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, all dressed in black. After the commemoration, they followed the queen on her final journey to Windsor Castle, where she lies in rest with her late husband Prince Philip and her sister Princess Margaret.
Queen Elizabeth began her reign in 1952, and her death is seen by many as the end of an era.
“She has always been there, I can’t imagine what it will be without her,” says 23-year-old Sophie, a student at the University of Essex which the Queen herself visited in 1985. She added, “She kept us all together in the good and bad. But I believe King Charles will truly honor her years of service.”