The state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II — likely to be one of the most watched events in history — is underway.
The queen’s coffin is currently being slowly driven in a hearse through the streets of London to Windsor Castle and to St. George’s Chapel, her final resting place.
Prior to being moved into the hearse at Wellington Arch at London’s Hyde Park Corner, the coffin was carried in a major military procession through the British capital that began at Westminster Abbey, where the first of the day’s funeral services took place. Earlier in the morning, the coffin was transported from Westminster Hall, where it had been lying in state since Sept. 14, in a short procession that was followed by senior members of the royal family, including new monarch King Charles III, and his sons Prince William and Prince Harry, plus Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and Prince Edward.
Billions of people around the World are expected to tune in to watch the pomp and pageantry of the occasion, while hundreds of thousands of well-wishers are lining the streets of London (many having arrived in the early hours of Monday) in order to pay their respects to the late queen, who has been head of state for 70 years. Many threw flowers onto the road at the royal hearse drove by.
The funeral has also seen the largest gathering of word leaders for decades. Among the guests in Westminster Abbey were around 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries, including Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, who arrived in the U.K. on Saturday, plus France’s Emanuel Macron. On Sunday, King Charles III hosted a special reception for 1,000 guests, including World leaders, ambassadors and other royals at Buckingham Palace, during which guests joined the country in a minute’s silence — called the National Moment of Reflection — to mourn the queen’s passing.
The service in the Abbey — the church where Britain’s kings and queens have historically been crowned and where Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip — lasted for around one hour and was conducted by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle.
“Her Late Majesty’s example was not set through her position or her ambition, but through whom she followed,” said the Archbishop of Canterbury in his sermon. Seated close to the coffin was King Charles alongside his wife Camilla, the Queen consort, Princess Anne and her husband, Timothy Laurence. Behind them were Prince Harry; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Princess Beatrice. Also in attendance at Westminster Abbey was Killing Eve actress Sandra Oh, reportedly as part of the Canadian delegation as a member of the Order of Canada.
The service was immediately followed by a two-minute national silence, followed by the procession.
Once the coffin has reached St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where Prince Philip’s memorial service took place and where Prince Harry and Meghan were married, there will be a a televised service at 4 p.m. local time, after which the queen will be interred during a private service at the chapel.
When she passed away peacefully aged 96 in Balmoral, Scotland on Sep. 8, Queen Elizabeth II was Britain’s longest reigning monarch in history and the longest-serving female head of state in history. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee, marking 65 years in power. (She had surpassed Victoria in 2015 to become the longest-reigning British monarch ever). She was also, undoubtedly, one of the world’s most recognizable figures, as well as being one of the most portrayed on screen.
Her death prompted an outpouring of emotion and flood of tributes from around the world.
“The death of my beloved mother, her majesty the queen, is a moment of great sadness for me and all members of my family,” said King Charles, whose ascended to the throne immediately following her death, in a statement. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt through the country, the realms, and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world. During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the queen was so widely held.”
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Originally published at www.theshocknews.com