On a day full of sunshine and devoid of the usual four seasons in a day, Britons today bid a final farewell to their Queen with all the pomp and circumstance most people have ever seen in their lives.
The Brits sure know how to do it. Yes, Operation London Bridge has been planned years ago. But planning is one thing. Implementation is another. But they sure gave their queen a farewell which even the word ‘befitting’ does not do justice to. The attention to detail was uncanny and almost supernatural. This was not a computerized or computer-simulated venture, but every role was obviously planned and executed to the minutest detail. Even for perfectionists, this was surreal. So I doff my hat to them. Everything was like clockwork, with military precision and almost unlike anything seen before.
Those who do not believe in the monarchy anywhere are likely to ask, ‘what’s the big deal’ and ‘why such fanfare for a funeral?’. But from all the goodwill from all parts of the world, Queen Elizabeth surely deserved the send-off she was given, in this first State funeral in the United Kingdom since that of their Prime Minister Winston Churchill back in 1965. For most Britons, none had seen anything like it, but it was a grand funeral steeped in tradition to honour the queen’s 70-year reign.
About 100 countries were represented by their Presidents, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers, with another hundred more represented by Vice-Presidents, a King, princes, an emperor and empress, and other public figures, there to pay their last respect to this 96-year-old icon who had worldwide appeal, even in a modern world that is trying to do away with tradition.
The funeral service took place in Westminster Abbey where Elizabeth II was crowned queen about 70 years ago, and where she was married 75 years ago to her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died last year.
The State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II today, Monday, 19th September, 2022 will be remembered for a long time to come.
The service, which commenced at 11a.m. was conducted by the Very Reverend David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who preached the sermon leading a team of Who’s Who in Christendom in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Choir of the Chapel Royal were in attendance.
Before the service, the tenor bell tolled every minute for 96 minutes, reflecting the years of Queen Elizabeth II’s life.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, read the first lesson at the funeral service while Elizabeth Truss, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, read the second lesson.
The service ended with the UK National Anthem, God Save The King, which has been sung so many times in the 10 days since the queen’s death, and heard by many in so short a time that it is now in the memory of even non-Britons, with the title, Queen changed to King immediately after her death and assumption of Charles III as King. God Save The King has rang out repeatedly at various ceremonies and events of the funeral.
GOD save our gracious King,
long live our noble King,
God save The King.
Send him victorious,
happy and glorious,
long to reign over us:
God save The King.
Thy choicest gifts in store
on him be pleased to pour,
long may he reign.
May he defend our laws,
and ever give us cause
to sing with heart and voice:
God save The King!
After the service at Westminster Abbey, the procession of the coffin took off, with the royal family members escorting their mother and grandmother’s remains in the gun carriage to Wellington Arch on foot, along with the long line of military officers of different services. The new King, Charles III and his sister, the Princess Royal and brothers, along with his sons William and Harry walked behind the coffin but their wives and younger children rode in cars behind.
It was at Wellington Arch that the coffin was transferred to the Royal Hearse for the final journey to Windsor for burial. Thousands of people lined the route and threw flowers on the vehicle and road to show their love for their late queen.
At Windsor, another service was held in the afternoon and the queen was lowered into the vault.
Later in the evening, Queen Elizabeth II was buried alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, at the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II herself in 1962, the King George VI Chapel was designed to hold members of her immediate family. St George’s Chapel itself is the resting place of many monarchs from throughout history. Both of the Queen’s parents are buried in the tiny chapel, alongside the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret.
IMAGE CREDIT: Windsor, Sky News