Amid pomp and glory, British and European royals, world leaders, and a massive crowd paid their last respects to Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch the United Kingdom has ever known, as a funeral service was held for her at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, 40 kilometres from Central London, yesterday.
Two thousand guests and dignitaries were seated in the breath-taking chapel.
After 70 remarkable years on the throne, the queen breathed her last on September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
As the world’s most famous monarch, Queen Elizabeth II spent 70 years of her life in public service and glare, an epitome of stateliness and immense royalty. She was 96.
The mourner-in-chief, Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son and successor, King Charles III, led other royals across Europe, and world leaders from Australia to Asia, Africa and the Middle East, at the funeral. Nigeria’s Professor Yemi Osinbajo joined other world leaders at the event, including United States President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
European royalty and Commonwealth leaders were among the 500 foreign dignitaries at the state funeral in London on Monday. Hundreds of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the queen’s coffin as millions worldwide held their breath to watch her stately funeral in the majesty and grandeur of St. George’s Chapel.
Across the globe, Queen Elizabeth II was one British monarch known to most people.
When the queen acceded to the throne at 25, her “life changed overnight from that of a young naval wife and mother to a busy head of state. She was to become known for her sense of duty and devotion to a life of service,” a titular leader for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Until her death, Queen Elizabeth II ruled her kingdom and domains with majestic, momentous grace unique only to her.
As her coffin was lowered into the royal vault, a palpable note of grief coloured the countenance of King Charles in a final rite of passage that climaxed in the private burial that followed the public spectacle of the funeral service beamed across the world.
The final burial was a private affair attended by the queen’s family members.
At 6:30 am yesterday, the lying-in-state ended for the queen, and at 10:44 am, her coffin was carried in procession on the state gun carriage of the Royal Navy from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey for the funeral.
Immediately following the coffin was King Charles III, members of the royal family and members of the king’s household. The dean of Westminster conducted the funeral service. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, gave the sermon and the commendation.