United Kingdom bids farewell to its Queen with a solemn funeral in front of 2,000 guests

The United Kingdom has said its last farewell to Queen Elizabeth II this Monday with a state funeral that has had 2,000 guests and has gathered hundreds of representatives of some of the main poles of world power.

The strict protocols established before the death of Elizabeth II, who died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle (Scotland), already established that the funeral should be held on the tenth day, and so it has been.

The seat of Parliament has hosted during the last four days a funeral chapel through which hundreds of thousands of people have passed and that has concluded this Monday, just hours before the start of a final funeral procession in the presence of the king, Charles III, and other members of the royal family.

The coffin has entered the abbey carried by members of the royal guard and, after him, have done the rest of the members of the cortege. The heir to the crown, Prince William, has walked the path to the altar next to his eldest son, George, second in line to the throne.

The Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle, has highlighted at the start of the Mass the “mourning” but also the “deep gratitude” to Elizabeth II, in the place that, as he recalled, already saw the late monarch marry and, in 1953, be crowned queen.

In his opening speech, he has underlined the “long life of selfless service” of Elizabeth II, who completed this same year seven decades on the throne. “With admiration, let us remember her sense of duty and lifelong dedication to her people,” he has stressed.

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Readings were given by UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Commonwealtlh Secretary General Patricia Scotland, while various religious representatives from across the UK, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also took part.

In his sermon, Welby recalled the Queen’s famous speech on her twenty-first birthday, when she promised that she would dedicate her life to serving the country and the whole Commonwealth. “Seldom has a promise been so well kept,” he noted.

“People who give loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders who give a service of love are even rarer,” stressed the archbishop, who has placed Elizabeth II as a political symbol and also of faith. It is not in vain that the British crown is also associated with the headship of the Anglican Church.

“All of us who have followed the Queen’s example, inspiration and faith in God can say to her: ‘We will see you again,” Welby reiterated.

The ceremony has been loaded with other symbols to the life of the queen and hymns that have already sounded in some of his most notable life moments, such as her wedding to Prince Philip – deceased in 2021 – or his coronation have been chanted.

The ceremony concluded with two minutes of silence extended to the whole country. Standing, the 2,000 guests paid their respects to a figure who has seen 15 prime ministers pass through Downing Street and who is considered a symbol of monarchies worldwide.

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The hymn, renamed ‘God Save the King’, and the music played by the Queen’s piper have served as a climax to an act which is followed by a new funeral procession, to Wellington Arch, from where the carriage that will carry the remains of Elizabeth II to Windsor Castle will depart. The remains of the late Queen will rest in St. George’s Chapel.

The abbey opened its doors early in the morning to allow time for some 2,000 guests, including half a thousand international leaders, to enter the church before the funeral began at 11.00 a.m. (one hour later in mainland Spain).

The event has brought together under one roof political leaders from around the world, including the U.S. Joe Biden, the French Emmanuel Macron, as well as representatives of the royal houses, including King Felipe and Queen Letizia.

Truss, as prime minister in office, has had a prominent role during the mass, but the protocol has also provided special treatment to all former heads of government, who have entered the temple together and in chronological order, according to their respective mandates.

The representatives of the Commonwealth countries that have the British monarchy as a reference and that, with the death of Elizabeth II, have also lost their own head of state, have also been specifically differentiated.


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