Thousands of citizens say goodbye to Elizabeth II through the streets of London | International


Representatives of republics and monarchies from around the world have gathered this Monday at Westminster Abbey to bid farewell to whom the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, accurately defined as “the Queen”. The death of the most respected and well-known monarch, Elizabeth II, has concentrated the attention of half the planet for 11 days in the United Kingdom, in London, in the new king, Carlos III, and in the period of uncertainty that opens in that country after closing the door on 70 years of the Elizabethan era.

The state funeral has gathered in the abbey the president of the United States, Joe Biden; to France, Macron; the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau; to New Zealand, Jacinta Arden; the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, that of Germany, Frank Walter Steinmeier, or that of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. And to members of European royal families such as Harald V of Norway, Margarita II of Denmark or Felipe VI. The King, accompanied by Doña Letizia, has finally shared a seat, in front of Isabel II’s coffin, together with the emeritus Juan Carlos I and his wife, Doña Sofía.

At 10:44 local time (11:44 a.m., Spanish peninsular time), Carlos III and his sons, Guillermo and Enrique, arrived at Westminster Hall. The ardent chapel of the deceased monarch had been installed there, and for four days, almost a million citizens had paraded inside to say goodbye to Elizabeth II. The coffin was transported to the military vault that would take it to the abbey, just 200 meters from there. A total of 142 members of the Royal Navy have been in charge of dragging a car weighing more than three tons.

The 2,000 guests were already waiting inside the church, which, in addition to international dignitaries, included members and former members of the British Government, the Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and former Prime Ministers such as Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Tony Blair , Gordon Brown or John Major, as well as parliamentarians, members of the judiciary and representatives of civil institutions.

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“Her Majesty declared, in now famous words, on her 21st birthday, that she would devote her whole life to the service of the nation and the Commonwealth [Comunidad de Naciones]. Rarely has a promise been kept so well”, said the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in the main sermon of an hour-long religious service, in which readings from the New and Old Testaments (the Prime Minister has read one of them) and religious hymns performed by the chapel choir. Some of them, like Psalm 34, composed in 1953 for the coronation ceremony of Elizabeth II, which took place in the same Westminster Abbey. Others, composed for the funeral, such as the piece written by the Scottish musician James Macmillan, based on Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans.

At 11:58 (12:58, Spanish peninsular time), everything has fallen silent. Two minutes of respect for the late monarch, inside the abbey and across the UK. Until the national anthem was played, followed by the notes of Elizabeth II’s private piper, from a balcony in the central nave.

Funeral procession

From there began the funeral procession that would take the coffin of the monarch to the Wellington Arch, a long journey through the center of London, plagued by the tens of thousands of citizens who had been waiting for many hours before to preserve their place, and they too can say goodbye to Elizabeth II. On the coffin, transported by the military chest, rested the Crown of State, the Orb and the Imperial Scepter, and a crown of flowers, part of whose foliage corresponded to that of the flowers of the bridal bouquet of Isabel II, from 1947. Some of them were transplanted after the ceremony. Above the flower crown, a personal note from King Carlos III. “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R. (In loving and devoted memory. Carlos Rey).

More than 3,000 soldiers have participated in a state funeral only comparable in magnitude to that of George VI, in 1952. In full dress uniform (except for Prince Andrew, stripped of his public representativeness due to his connection with the Epstein scandal), Carlos III and his brothers (Ana and Eduardo), have paraded behind the military armor and the coffin, while walking the streets of London.

The queen consort, Camila, together with Catherine, the Princess of Wales, has followed the procession aboard a Rolls Royce of the royal house.

Among all the military bodies that have been part of the procession, members of the Canadian Mounted Police stood out, one of the most relevant countries of the Commonwealth, whose Head of State was Elizabeth II and now is Carlos III. Behind them, members of the National Health Service (NHS), one of the most revered institutions by British citizens.

Throughout the morning, Big Ben has not stopped ringing, the legendary clock that crowns the Elizabeth Tower, in the Palace of Westminster, and is the icon of the city of London. 96 chimes, one for each of the years of Elizabeth II.

The procession has taken just over an hour, to the constant rhythm of funeral marches played by the military bands, to cover the distance between Westminster Abbey and Wellington Arch. There, the coffin has been transported to a hearse, to travel to Windsor Castle, the place of residence of Elizabeth II during the long months of the pandemic. The national anthem bid farewell to the monarch from London, while the king and his brothers bid him farewell with a military salute.

In the early afternoon, after a last funeral procession of about five kilometers, to the chapel of San Jorge, a final public religious service was held, to which Carlos III had invited the kings of Spain. Doña Letizia could not be present, because she had a flight scheduled at that time to New York from London, to attend events around the UN General Assembly. Yes, she has attended, accompanying her son, Doña Sofía. Both have shared the religious service in one of the choir benches. The king emeritus has declined the invitation.

In the late afternoon, the British royal family held their own farewell ceremony for the queen, their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Carlos III was in charge of spreading the first handful of earth on the coffin, before Isabel II finally rested next to her husband, Felipe de Edinburgh.

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