Windsor | Elizabeth II salutes a sovereign of planetary fame and unrivaled reign on Monday after a lavish and emotional farewell at her final resting place, St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
• Read more: A royal burial ground
After a funeral procession, a walk through the crowded Windsor Gardens and a religious ceremony in front of 800 people, the coffin was slowly lowered into the church’s royal vault.
Not long ago, the Lord Chamberlain broke his staff and then placed it in the coffin, a symbolic gesture marking the end of his reign.
Elizabeth II then disappeared from the world’s eyes forever, becoming a familiar icon during her 70 years, seven months and two days on the throne, often smiling and always calm.
The British anthem played and it was over. It was the last chance for close family members to gather in private, in the evening, to transfer the coffin to the George VI memorial in the church with Philip, the husband of Elizabeth II, who died in 2021. With parents Elizabeth II and her sister Margaret.
With hundreds of foreign dignitaries and thousands of Britons on her way, Elizabeth II’s final trip has come to an end. Since his death on September 8, at the age of 96, in his Scottish home of Balmoral, his closed coffin has criss-crossed his kingdom, through the Scottish countryside, with sad tunes played by brass bands played by Royal Air Force aircraft or slow funeral processions pulled by horses or sailors.
In Edinburgh and later London, hundreds of thousands of people waited for hours, sometimes all night, to gather before the remains of the only monarch most Britons had ever known, whose face, on banknotes and stamps, was recognized around the world.
“Capacity to Collect”
A chapter in the world’s history closes with these farewells to a monarch who never shared any opinion publicly, but carried out his duties with austerity, grace, and nobility, and passed through the ages with a constant sense of duty. Sometimes the inevitable cheeky humor.
At Windsor, Pauline Huxtable, 64, had come to celebrate the “extraordinary life” of a queen with “dignity”: she was a “maternal figure”.
“I’ll never see another Queen in my lifetime, because now it’s King Charles III, then Prince William, then George,” observed Caroline Lachman, 48, on the way to the procession.
“Elizabeth II had the ability to collect for 70 years and she was incredible,” he adds, describing the situation as “sad” but “celebratory”.
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The final farewell to the sovereign will be in the image of the 12 days that followed his death: with enormous public emotion, carefully staged, with the pomp of the secular traditions of the British monarchy. It has been planned for at least 20 years.
In the early hours of the morning, to the sound of bagpipes, the coffin, surmounted by a glittering imperial crown, made its way from Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Parliament, to neighboring Westminster Abbey. Dozens of sailors towed him, King Charles III, his brothers and sisters and his children, brothers William, the heir and Harry, arrived in the cold.
At the Abbey, they are joined by Queen Consort Camilla, the new Princess Kate of Wales and Harry’s wife Meghan. But William and Kate’s two eldest, George, 9, now second in line, and Charlotte, 7, were most impressed under her little black hat.
World leaders including US Presidents Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, six former British prime ministers who are still alive from John Major to Boris Johnson, and European crowned heads from Spain’s King Felipe VI to the King attended. Philippe of Belgium via Prince Albert of Monaco.
“Happiness” is the queen
“In a famous speech on his 21st birthday, his late majesty declared that he would devote his entire life to the service of the nation and the commonwealth,” recalled Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual head of the Anglican Church. Ruled by a queen.
“Rarely has a promise been so well fulfilled,” he added, paying tribute to the queen who was “joyous, a gift to many people, who touched so many lives”.
The ceremony ended with two minutes of solemn silence, observed throughout the country, before the national anthem in honor of Charles III, “God Save the King”.
After a 6,000-strong march through London, the coffin reached Windsor, forty kilometers to the west. Throwing a flower, clapping or wiping away tears, thousands of people lined the roads leading to the residence where Elizabeth, still a princess, took refuge during World War II and spent her final years.
Formed by royal guards in red uniforms and black fur hats, the procession arrived on a long walk through the estate. On the steps of the castle: the Queen’s two corgis (these dogs have always been associated with Elizabeth II), Muick and Sandy, now entrusted to her son Andrew.
Elizabeth II, who has been increasingly frail in recent months and suffering from mobility problems, took her last public photo, still smiling, two days before her death as newly minted Prime Minister Liz Truss.
He was the oldest leader in the world. During his lifetime, he witnessed World War II, the dissolution of the British Empire, and the entry and exit of the European Union.
After spending days traveling through the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom and walking through a mother’s grief, Charles III must write his own story.
Few dreamed of a quick transition with the new Prince of Wales, his son William, 40. But the king, like his mother, vowed to serve her for the rest of her life.
According to UGO, if its popularity rating rises to 70%, the challenges, many, begin, some Commonwealth countries do not hide their desire to withdraw from the monarchy.
As of Tuesday, the United Kingdom is resuming its life cycle that has been suspended since September 8, with the economic crisis and social movements at the forefront.
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