Queen Elizabeth’s State funeral takes place today
UK: Queen Elizabeth II’s State funeral will be held on today (Monday) at Westminster Abbey. It will begin at 11 a.m. UK time (3:30 p.m. Sri Lankan time).
With two million mourners expected, the funeral is an epic security challenge far surpassing the 2012 Olympics and June’s Platinum Jubilee. As well as the 10,000 uniformed officers on duty, snipers will be stationed on rooftops and drones will provide security chiefs with constant visual updates.
On Wednesday, the coffin was taken by horse-drawn gun carriage to the Houses of Parliament, where it lay in state for four days. Prior to this, the coffin was at London’s Buckingham Palace, where thousands of people were allowed to bid farewell to the United Kingdom’s longest serving monarch.
The Queen’s body was brought to London from Balmoral, Scotland, where she passed away at the age of 96. Following her death, processions and rituals were conducted in Balmoral, before the body was brought to London. When the Queen’s coffin was kept at Westminster Hall, members of the British public were allowed inside to pay their respects.
On Saturday, the Queen’s eight grandchildren took part in a vigil, standing beside her coffin in Westminster Hall. Their parents performed a vigil twice in the last week.
Princes William and Harry wore military attire. The rest, – Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips and Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn – all wore black.
This is the first time in history a monarch’s grandchildren performed what is traditionally known as the Vigil of the Princes.
On Monday morning, the queen’s coffin, which is currently lying in state at Westminster Hall so members of the public can pay their respects to the late monarch, will be processed on a gun carriage the short distance to Westminster Abbey, where a sermon will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury. King Charles III will walk behind the coffin to Westminster Abbey, along with other members of the royal family.
At the conclusion of the service, two minutes of silence will be held across the U.K.
Following the service the queen’s coffin will be taken in a walking procession to Hyde Park, and then by hearse to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the sprawling estate west of London where the late monarch spent a lot of her life, and much of her last few years isolating amid the coronavirus pandemic.
St. George’s Chapel is the final resting place of the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, and her late husband, Prince Philip. It is the chapel often chosen by the royal family for events like weddings and funerals. It is where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, got married, and where Philip’s funeral was held.
The queen’s funeral is expected to be one of the largest gatherings of royalty and politicians in the U.K. in decades. While the palace would not confirm attendance numbers, Westminster Abbey can hold over 2,000 people. Several other world leaders, members of royal families from across Europe, and top British politicians are expected to attend the Queen’s state funeral as well.
US President Joe Biden, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Indian President Droupadi Murmu, South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako were among the first to arrive on Sunday. Around 500 Heads of State and foreign dignitaries were expected to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Foreign royalty attending the State funeral include Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway and Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco. Royals from Greece, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium will also be there. The six surviving former British PMs who served under the Queen will attend, along with Ms Truss.
European leaders there will include French president Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italian president Sergio Mattarella and Finland’s Sauli Niinistö, as well as European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also expected to attend.
Royal Family favourite Sir David Attenborough, born 17 days after the Queen and producer of several of her Christmas speeches, will join mourners in the Abbey.- BBC, MIRROR