End of an era as UK & the world bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II at historic funeral

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New Delhi: Royalties and leaders from across the world as well as tearful mourners lining the streets and gathered around screens bid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, as UK’s longest-serving monarch was laid to rest in a historic funeral ceremony conducted to military precision at a scale never seen before.

The Queen’s coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, bringing to an end public mourning for the monarch.

The “second Elizabethan age” was symbolically brought to a close when the highest-ranking official in the royal household, Lord Chamberlain Andrew Parker, broke his wand of office.

The “instruments of state” with which she was crowned in 1953 — the Imperial State Crown, orb and sceptre — were removed from the coffin and placed on the high altar.

Her eldest son and successor, King Charles III, placed The Queen’s Company Camp Colour of the Grenadier of Guards on the coffin.

As the coffin was lowered, a lone piper played a haunting lament.

The queen’s titles were read publicly for the last time: “The late Most High, Most Mighty, and Most Excellent Monarch, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.”

Earlier, the UK observed a two-minute silence in a poignant nationwide tribute at the conclusion of a majestic state funeral ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London, attended by thousands and witnessed by millions on screens worldwide.

In the congregation of around 2,000 made up of world leaders, royalty from the UK and overseas and community leaders, India was represented by president Droupadi Murmu and foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra.

The final journey

The UK’s National Anthem, God Save the King’, rang out as the coffin was lifted out for the last leg of the journey to the late monarch’s final resting place at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where a Committal Service concluded the public-facing aspect of the funeral before a private burial ceremony on Monday evening.

The Queen will be buried next to her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip who passed away in 2021, in Windsor in a private ceremony.

Earlier in the day, the state funeral began as chimes of the Big Ben fell silent and hymns rang out as the coffin of the late monarch was carried into Westminster Abbey on Monday morning.

Big Ben, the iconic London landmark housed in the Elizabeth Tower named after the late Queen, tolled every minute 96 times to mark each year of the late sovereign’s life as a procession led by King Charles III entered the historic 11th century Abbey.

The coffin, draped with the Royal Standard, was adorned with flowers from the King’s royal homes and a personal note “in loving and devoted memory” from him and the Instruments of State made up of the diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown and the orb and sceptre which were gifted to the Queen at her coronation in the same Abbey in 1953.

Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service, and in sure confidence to commit her to the mercy of God our maker and redeemer, said Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster who led the service.

With gratitude we remember her unswerving commitment to a high calling over so many years as Queen and Head of the Commonwealth,” he said.

“With admiration we recall her life-long sense of duty and dedication to her people. With thanksgiving we praise God for her constant example of Christian faith and devotion. With affection we recall her love for her family and her commitment to the causes she held dear, Hoyle said.

The hour-long service included a collection of traditional hymns and new pieces of choral music, created especially for the occasion.

Lessons from the Bible were read by Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland and British PM Liz Truss, following which came the hymn, The Lord’s My Shepherd’ which had also been sung at the wedding of the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947.

As the clock struck 11am local time, the Queen’s eldest son and heir Charles followed the coffin which had been Lying-in-State at Westminster Hall since last Wednesday in solemn procession, accompanied by his sons Princes William and Harry and siblings Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward.

William’s children, nine-year-old Prince George and seven-year-old Princess Charlotte were among the youngest members of the royal procession, who walked between their parents the Prince and Princess of Wales.

There was military precision in the ceremony following days of rehearsals by the nearly 6,000 armed forces personnel involved in the grand ceremony.

The coffin was then borne in procession in the state gun carriage used for royal funerals towards Wellington Arch in central London to be taken by the state hearse to Windsor.

The event was watched by millions of people across the UK and around the world. Thousands lined streets and gathered in parks around the capital to listen to the service, with many moved to tears.

It was the UK’s first state funeral since Winston Churchill’s in 1965 and the biggest ceremonial event since World War II.

Queen Elizabeth II, 96, passed away at her Scottish residence of Balmoral Castle on 8 September.

With inputs from agencies

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End of an era as UK & the world bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II at historic funeral
End of an era as UK & the world bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II at historic funeral
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