Big Ben collected the toll this morning, as the queen’s body was loaded into a gun carriage from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey for her funeral. The funeral began with a military precision that would have pleased the famous late monarch on time at 11 a.m. local time.
In what looked like a calculated snub for Prince Harry, he was seated in the second row with Meghan Markle, along with his cousins Beatrice and Eugenie. He is on the right side of the church, behind King Charles.
In the front row, in front of him were Charles, Camilla, Andrew, Anne, her husband, Sir Tim Laurence, Prince Andrew, Edward and Sophie. Prince William and Kate Middleton, the new Prince and Princess of Wales, are to the left of the church, with their children and Peter Philips.
Before the ceremony, the queen’s coffin was followed by a large guard of uniformed soldiers and a royal banquet that included King Charles, Harry and Andrew.
The estranged brothers walked side by side behind the coffin. William wears military uniform, but Harry wears civilian clothes.
Only members who technically serve in the military are allowed to wear military uniforms. However, old soldiers were allowed to wear their medals over civilian clothing and Harry proudly showed it off as he paraded solemnly behind the coffin.
The Royal Crown is placed atop an oak coffin, decorated to royal standards. A wreath, made from flowers picked from her garden, was placed on top of the coffin, with a handwritten card of her son the king.
Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, 7, the eldest children of William and Kate, joined the procession as they carried the coffin into the church. The palace is said to want them to have a public role to strengthen the continuity of the monarchy.
The children were among 2,000 mourners gathered at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, who has ruled the UK for more than 70 years.
Joe Biden arrived shortly after 10 a.m. local time, and was the only world leader allowed into the Beast, the president’s fortified limousine, in a convoy of six. Other leaders arrived by bus. Former British prime ministers, and current prime minister, Liz Truss, were also present.
The funeral took place in the same church where the queen was crowned in 1953, with guests including Kate Middleton’s parents, Michael and Carole joining a global group of dignitaries. The first hymn is the touching verse “The day that the Lord loved is over.”
Up to 100 heads of government or state are expected to attend the funeral, with an estimated 50 people attending the Nelson Mandela memorial service. It is believed to be the largest gathering of world leaders in history.
Vladimir Putin was not invited but other controversial leaders, including Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is said to have been invited but is not expected to attend.
Members of European royal families, many of whom are relatives of the queen, attended, including King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Felipe and the Royal Family. Queen Letizia of Spain and the royal families of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Monaco. Also attending were the Emperor of Japan, the King of Bhutan, and the King of Brunei.
Up to two million members of the public lined the streets of London to pay their respects to the queen as the Queen’s hearse made its final journey from Westminster Abbey to Windsor, where she will was buried with her beloved late husband, Prince. Philip.
Many VIP guests were brought into the Monastery by the coach after gathering at the Chelsea hospital.