Silence fell over London’s Hyde Park nearby as thousands of people, who for hours had picnicked and chatted, went quiet the second the Queen’s coffin appeared on screens erected for the occasion.
The 2000-strong congregation included some 500 presidents, prime ministers, foreign royal families and dignitaries including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and US President Joe Biden, among leaders from New Zealand, France, Canada, China, Pakistan and the Cook Islands.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Camilla, Queen Consort, Prince George of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and Sophie, Countess of Wessex are seen during The State Funeral. Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
‘We will meet again’
“Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen.”
King Charles III, the Queen Consort, the Princess Royal, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Countess of Wessex, (second row) the Duke of Sussex, the Duchess of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Lady Louise Windsor, and (third row) Samuel Chatto, Arthur Chatto, Lady Sarah Chatto and Daniel Chatto in front of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during her state funeral at the Abbey in London. Source: AAP / Dominic Lipinski/PA
The Archbishop said her late Majesty’s broadcast during COVID-19 lockdowns ended with, “we will meet again” – “words of hope” from singer Vera Lynn.
“We will all face the merciful judgement of God. We can all share the Queen’s hope, which in life and death inspired her servant leadership. Service in life, hope in death – all who follow the Queen’s example and inspiration of trust and faith in God can, with her, say, ‘We will meet again.’”
Princes Harry and William united in grief
Now, 25 years later in scenes not dissimilar to 1997, the pair have reunited at their grandmother’s funeral, amid reports of a rift between the brothers after Harry relocated to the United States.
William, the now Prince of Wales, and Harry, Duke of Sussex, pictured during the funeral of their mother, Princess Diana in 1997 and during the state funeral of their grandmother Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. Source: AAP
Among the crowds who came from around Britain and beyond, people climbed lampposts and stood on barriers and ladders to catch a glimpse of the royal procession – one of the largest of its kind in modern history in the capital.
The tenor bell of the Abbey – the site of coronations, weddings and burials of English and then British kings and queens for almost 1000 years – tolled 96 times.
Afterwards, the coffin began its journey through central London, past Buckingham Palace to the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, with the monarch and the royal family following on foot during the 2.4-kilometre procession.
King Charles III follows behind The Queen’s funeral cortege following a service at Westminster Abbey Credit: Peter Summers/Getty Images
What happens now?
Later in the evening, in a private family service, the coffin of Elizabeth and her husband of more than seven decades, Philip, who died last year aged 99, will be buried together at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, where her parents and sister, Princess Margaret, also rest.
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