Britain’s longest-reigning Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, will be buried Monday at one of the largest state funerals the world has ever seen.
Her Majesty, 96, died at her Balmoral estate in Scotland on Thursday 8 September after 70 years on the throne, beginning 11 days of mourning as the nation gathered to remember the remarkable public official who was constantly present in the lives of millions of Brits in a turbulent period of world history.
Today’s funeral began with her being transported a short distance from Westminster Hall at Palace of Westminster in central London – where she lay in state for five days, drawing huge lines of mourners – to Westminster Abbey on the other side of Parliament Square.
The coffin was escorted by members of her own family, the armed forces and 138 sailors of the Royal Navy, whose sacred duty was to tow the 123-year-old tow truck that carried it to the abbey.
Chaired by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle, over 2,000 guests attended, including many former Queen’s prime ministers and many world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, who flew to pay their respects.
The coffin was draped with a royal banner on which was placed the crown of the imperial state and a large wreath of flowers.
Her Majesty’s eldest son and successor, King Charles III, was responsible for helping to select the flora for the wreath, flowers cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House.
They were chosen for their emotional significance and symbolize key moments in the Queen’s reign, including rosemary for memory and myrtle grown from a twig taken from Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet.
Myrtle, an ivory flower, is meant to symbolize a happy marriage.
The wreath also includes a pedunculate oak, symbolizing the power of love, as well as geraniums, garden roses, autumn hydrangeas, sedum plants, dahlias and scabies.
The flowers selected are in shades of pink, deep burgundy, gold and white to reflect the royal standard colors and are embedded in an English moss nest.
Perhaps the king’s most personal touch was to place a handwritten card among the petals that read simply, “In loving and devoted memory. Karol R. “
After today’s morning proceedings are over, Her Majesty’s Coffin is transported from the Abbey, through Horse Guards Parade and The Mall, through Buckingham Palace, and on to the Wellington Arch at the other end of Green Park.
Big Ben beats at minute intervals as the procession continues as firearms salute from Hyde Park.
The state hearse will then join the convoy heading west, leading the queen to her final resting place in the Chapel of St.
A private service will be held at St George’s at 4:00 PM this afternoon, chaired by the Dean of Windsor, David Conner, during which Queen Elizabeth II will be buried with her late husband, Prince Phillip, who died last April.