Britain bids farewell to its beloved queen with a ceremony steeped in history and royal ritual


Earlier, tens of thousands lined the Mall in London to watch the procession that followed the funeral.

The farewell for the monarch — whose 70-year reign began in the aftermath of World War II, outlasted the Cold War, and spanned the dawn of the space race to the ubiquity of the internet — also cemented the rule of its new one.

Her coffin was carried on a Royal Navy gun carriage from the funeral service to the Wellington Arch near Hyde Park. It was then transferred to a state hearse for the journey to Windsor.

Before the funeral service, Westminster Abbey’s tenor bell tolled 96 times, once for each year of Elizabeth’s life, before her coffin was carried inside for the state funeral.

Behind the casket followed her eldest son, Charles, who at age 73 is finally taking the reins of the kingdom.

Then, for the next hour, there were tributes to Elizabeth and hymns that culminated in two minutes of silence observed by those in attendance and across the country.

In his sermon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby recalled how when Elizabeth turned 21 she vowed, in a radio address to her millions of subjects around the world, to spend her life serving the British nation and the Commonwealth.

“Rarely has such a promise been so well-kept,” he said.

Toward the end of the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, mourners gathered in the ancient edifice sang “God Save the King,” a version of the national anthem that had not been heard there in 70 years.

The service took place after the epic line of devoted mourners who had spent four days filing past her coffin was halted, and more than a week of ceremonies steeped in ancient tradition came to a close.

And it was a sendoff that played out on a grand scale.

Some 4,000 military personnel were mustered to parade on the streets of London and Windsor. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, lined the streets. Inside Westminster Abbey, the guest list included leaders such as President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron, European royals, as well as British doctors and other emergency workers.



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