Kathmandu: Britain and the world said a final goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II at a state funeral Monday that drew presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers — and crowds who massed along the streets of London to honor a monarch whose 70-year reign defined an age.
In a country known for pomp and pageantry, the first state funeral since Winston Churchill’s was filled with spectacle: Ahead of the service, a bell tolled 96 times — once a minute for each year of Elizabeth’s life.
As reported by AP, 142 Royal Navy sailors used ropes to draw the gun carriage carrying her flag-draped coffin to Westminster Abbey before pallbearers bore it inside the church, where around 2,000 people ranging from world leaders to health care workers gathered to mourn her.
The trappings of state and monarchy abounded: The coffin was draped with the Royal Standard and atop it sat the Imperial State Crown, sparkling with almost 3,000 diamonds, and the sovereign’s orb and scepter.
The service drew to a close with two minutes of silence observed across the United Kingdom, after which the attendees sang the national anthem, now titled “God Save the King.”
The day began early when the doors of Parliament’s 900-year-old Westminster Hall were closed to mourners after hundreds of thousands had filed in front of her coffin.
Monday was declared a public holiday in honor of Elizabeth, who died Sept. 8 — and hundreds of thousands of people descended on central London to partake in the historic moment.
They jammed the sidewalks to watch the coffin wend its way through the streets of the capital after the service. As the procession passed Buckingham Palace, the queen’s official residence in the city, staff stood outside, some bowing and curtseying.
(News Source: AP)