Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral a somber affair, marked by pomp and circumstance

·3 min read

A family, a country and viewers around the world said goodbye Monday to Queen Elizabeth II, whose historic 70-year reign ended with her death on Sept. 8.

The late monarch’s coffin was carried into Westminster Abbey ahead of a processional of her family, including sons King Charles III, Andrew and Edward, daughter Anne and grandchildren Princes William and Harry.

But hopes for a family reunion seemed far-fetched after Prince Harry and wife Meghan were relegated to the second row, seated next to his cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie, and behind Prince Andrew, who was stripped of his royal patronages and military title over his association with Jeffrey Epstein.

The front row, across both sides of the church, was filled with Charles and his wife, Camilla; William and his wife, Kate; Anne and her husband, Sir Tim Laurence; and Anne’s children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, who are not part of the working royal family.

The hourlong funeral at Westminster Abbey was marked by pomp and circumstance and solemn rituals, a carefully scheduled event that included a eulogy by the archbishop of Canterbury, the Rev. Justin Welby, and readings by new Prime Minister Liz Truss and the secretary general of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland.

“The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death. The pattern for all who serve God, famous or obscure, respected or ignored, is that death is the door to glory,” Welby said Monday morning.

“Her Majesty famously declared on a 21st birthday broadcast, that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth. Rarely has such a promise been so well kept, few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen.”

Monday was declared a public holiday, allowing thousands to pour into London to stand outside Westminster Abbey and millions more to watch at home.

The funeral also featured several songs and hymns, including “The Lord’s My Shepherd,” which was sung at Queen Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip at Westminster in 1947, and “God Save the King,” which closed out a two-minute moment of silence.

Atop the coffin, alongside a stunning bouquet of flowers, was a note: “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.”

Heads of state from around the world had trickled into England over the weekend, including President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“We’ve had an opportunity to meet with an awful lot of consequential people, but I can say that the ones who stand out in your mind are those whose relationship and interaction with you are consistent with their reputation,” Biden said in a statement Sunday, calling the queen’s death “a loss that leaves a giant hole.”

“When the Queen had us to the castle for tea and — we were joking — crumpets — she kept offering me more; I kept eating everything she put in front of me — but she was the same in person as she — as her image: decent, honorable and all about service.”

After the funeral ended, the queen’s coffin was carried through the streets of London to Wellington Arch, then taken by hearse to Windsor Castle.

Just before 5 p.m. local time, Elizabeth was lowered into into the Royal Vault below St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. She will later be buried at the King George VI Memorial Chapel with her late husband, Prince Philip. Her parents are both buried at the chapel, which also holds a casket containing the ashes of her late sister, Princess Margaret.