IN PICTURES – Elizabeth II: Relive the Queen’s funeral

IN PICTURES – Elizabeth II: Relive the Queen’s funeral

Elizabeth II rests at her final resting place, St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, after a farewell with great pomp and emotion, honoring the memory of a sovereign of worldwide popularity and unparalleled reign on Monday. After a final solemn procession, a walk through a crowded Windsor estate and a religious ceremony in front of 800 people, the coffin was slowly lowered into the royal vault of the chapel.

A gesture to mark the end of Elizabeth II’s reign

Shortly before, the Lord Chamberlain had broken his staff and then placed it on the coffin, a symbolic gesture to signify the end of his reign. Elizabeth II then vanished from the world forever, often smiling, always calm, she had become a familiar icon during her 70 years, seven months and two days on the throne.

The British anthem played and it was over. There was only one last opportunity for the closest family to gather privately in the evening for the transfer of the coffin with that of Philip, the husband of Elizabeth II, who died in 2021, in the George VI memorial in the chapel next to Elizabeth’s parents II and her sister Margaret.

Travel across the country in a hearse

Accompanied by hundreds of foreign dignitaries and thousands of Britons, Elizabeth II’s final voyage has come to an end. Since his death on 8 September aged 96 at his Scottish residence of Balmoral, his closed coffin has traversed his kingdom, whether in a hearse through the Scottish countryside, on a Royal Air Force plane or during slow funeral processions to mournful tunes played by brass bands, pulled by horses or sailors.

In Edinburgh and then London, hundreds of thousands of people waited for hours, sometimes all night, to gather before the remains of the only monarch most Britons have ever known, whose face was recognized on banknotes and postage stamps worldwide.

A ‘sad’ atmosphere but ‘a time of celebration’

With this farewell to the monarch, who has gone through the centuries with a constant sense of duty, without ever publicly representing an opinion, but fulfilling her function as head of state with seriousness, benevolence and a wink, a chapter in world history closes. cheeky humor that is sometimes irresistible. In Windsor, Pauline Huxtable, 64, came to celebrate the “extraordinary life” of a queen imbued with “dignity”: she was a “mother figure”.

“I will never see a queen again in my life because now it will be King Charles III, then it will be Prince William, then George,” Caroline Lachman, 48, observed the route of the procession. “Elizabeth II had this gathering ability for 70 years, it was amazing,” she adds, describing a “sad” but “celebratory” atmosphere.

A great popular emotion

The last day of farewell to the sovereign will have been like the 12 days after her death: charged with immense popular excitement, carefully staged, with all the pomp of the British monarchy’s secular traditions. It had been planned for at least 20 years.

The coffin, crowned by the glittering Imperial Crown, left Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Parliament, in the middle of the morning, to the sound of the bagpipes, to reach the neighboring Westminster Abbey. Dozens of sailors dragged him into the cold, followed by King Charles III, his siblings and his children, brothers William the heir and Harry the Californian.

Hundreds of foreign leaders in attendance

They are joined at the Abbey by Queen Consort Camilla, Kate, the new Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Harry’s wife. But also William and Kate’s two eldest, George, aged 9, now second in line to the throne, and Charlotte, aged 7, were impressive under their little black hat.

In attendance, the gratin of world leaders including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, the six surviving former British Prime Ministers, from John Major to Boris Johnson, and European royalty, from King Felipe VI of Spain to King Philippe of Belgium via Prince Albert of Monaco.

Two poignant minutes of silence

“In a famous speech delivered on his 21st birthday, His late Majesty declared that his whole life would be dedicated to the service of the nation and the Commonwealth,” recalled Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Church was ruled by the Queen. “Seldom has a promise been kept so well,” he added, paying tribute to a Queen who “is a joyful gift to so many people and touches so many lives.”

The ceremony ended with two minutes of poignant silence observed across the country before celebrating the national anthem now celebrating Charles III, “God save the King.” After a parade of 6,000 soldiers through London, the coffin joined Windsor, about forty kilometers to the west. Thousands of people threw a flower, clapped hands or wiped away a tear. Thousands of people lined the streets leading to the residence where Elizabeth, another princess, took refuge during World War II and then spent most of her final years.

Economic crisis and social movements

The procession, framed by royal guards in red uniforms and black fur hats, made its way through the estate along the Long Way. On the steps of the castle: the Queen’s two corgis (those dogs forever associated with Elizabeth II), Muick and Sandy, now in the care of their son Andrew. Increasingly frail in recent months, suffering from mobility problems, Elizabeth II received her last public photograph two days before her death, still smiling, at brand-new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

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She was the oldest sitting leader in the world. In her life she lived through World War II, witnessed the dissolution of the British Empire, accession and then exit from the European Union. After exhausting days of travel in the four states of the United Kingdom, associated with the mourning of a mother, Charles III. write his own story.

Some dreamed of a quick move with the new Prince of Wales, his son William, 40. But the king, like his mother, vowed to serve throughout his life. Although its popularity rating has risen to 70%, according to YouGov, the challenges are only just beginning for many, with some Commonwealth countries not hiding their desire to break away from the monarchy. From Tuesday, the United Kingdom resumes its life course, which has been interrupted since September 8th, with the economic crisis and social movements in the foreground.

Reference: www.europe1.fr

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