Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral takes place at Westminster Abbey in London l SBS News

An emotional King Charles III, his sons William and Harry and other senior royals have joined a solemn procession behind Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin through the silent streets of London, following a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.
Hundreds of thousands of people crammed into central London on Monday (local time) to witness a ceremony attended by leaders and royalty from across the globe, an end for Britain’s longest-serving monarch who won widespread respect during 70 years on the throne.
Her flag-draped casket was pulled on a gun carriage the short distance from Westminster Hall to the Abbey by 142 sailors with arms linked. A bell tolled and bagpipes skirled.

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.

Shortly before, hundreds of armed personnel in full ceremonial dress had marched in a historic display of kilts, bearskin hats, scarlet tunics and brass bands.
Inside the abbey, lines of scripture were set to music that has been used at every state funeral since the early 18th century.
Among those walking behind the casket was the Queen’s great-grandson and future king, nine-year-old Prince George.

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.

The State Funeral Of Queen Elizabeth II

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’

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, told the congregation in a sermon that the grief felt by so many across Britain and the wider world reflected the late monarch’s “abundant life and loving service”.
“Her late majesty famously declared on a 21st birthday broadcast that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth,” he said.

“Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen.”

The royals stand in front of Queen Elizabeth's coffin during her state funeral at Westminster Abbey.The royals stand in front of Queen Elizabeth's coffin during her state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

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

William and Harry were young boys when their mother, Diana, died in 1997.
The pictures of the two brothers at their mother’s funeral were among the most heartbreaking and widely published at the time.

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.

Williiam, 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 September 2022. Williiam, 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 September 2022.

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 Queen died on 8 September at her Scottish summer home, Balmoral Castle, aged 96.
The 40th sovereign in a line that traces its lineage back to 1066, she came to the throne in 1952, Britain’s first post-imperial monarch.

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.

Among the hymns chosen for the service were The Lord’s My Shepherd, sung at the wedding of the Queen and her husband Prince Philip in the Abbey in 1947.
Towards the end of the service, the church and much of the nation fell silent for two minutes.
Trumpets rang out before the congregation sang God Save The King. The Queen’s piper brought the service to an end with a lament that faded to silence.

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.

The State Funeral Of Queen Elizabeth IIThe State Funeral Of Queen Elizabeth II

King Charles III follows behind The Queen’s funeral cortege following a service at Westminster Abbey Credit: Peter Summers/Getty Images

What happens now?

From there, the coffin will be placed on a hearse to be driven to Windsor Castle, west of London, for a service at St George’s Chapel. This will conclude with the crown, orb and sceptre – symbols of the monarch’s power and governance – being removed from the coffin and placed on the altar.
The Lord Chamberlain, the most senior official in the royal household, will break his Wand of Office, signifying the end of his service to the sovereign, and place it on the casket.
It will then be lowered into the royal vault.

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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