Even at night, people wait for hours to pay their respects to the queen again. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also personally bids farewell to the late monarch.
When mourning becomes a big event: For Queen Elizabeth II’s historic state funeral on Monday, thousands again lined up in what is probably the most famous line in the world. High-ranking guests such as US President Joe Biden honored the monarch who passed away on Sunday, September 8.
Mourners braved the cold London night for hours over the weekend to see their queen’s coffin. At Westminster Hall, citizens had the opportunity to bid farewell to the Queen’s funeral.
For the gigantic act of state, the police, secret services and anti-terrorist units in Britain are coordinating one of the largest security operations the capital has ever witnessed. More than 10,000 members of the British Army would be deployed. “It’s huge,” Defense Staff Chief of Staff Admiral Tony Radakin told the BBC. Countless monarchs and heads of state and government from all over the world are expected.
Reception at Buckingham Palace
On the night before the state funeral, numerous heads of state and government and crowned heads from around the world arrived at Buckingham Palace on Sunday. King Charles III and Queen Camilla had invited them to the main residence of the British monarch in London. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender also attended the reception. The live stream from Westminster Hall in the British Parliament previously showed the couple staring at the coffin in silence for a few minutes and bowing. The German ambassador to London, Miguel Berger, was also by her side.
US President Biden and his wife Jill also personally said goodbye to Elizabeth II at her coffin lined up in the British Parliament. Television footage shows the Democratic politician and the US First Lady looking at the coffin early Sunday evening from a podium on the edge of Westminster Hall. Biden praised the queen as “decent” and “honorable”. “It’s a loss that leaves a huge hole,” he said of her death after writing a condolence book.
Minute of silence for the queen
The people of Great Britain and the Commonwealth commemorated their late Queen with a minute of silence on Sunday evening. At 20:00 exactly local time, the program on TV and radio stations went silent. Prime Minister Liz Truss and her husband Hugh O’Leary celebrated the memorial in front of the famous black door of 10 Downing Street, the seat of government. In churches, clubhouses and also at home, many people took the opportunity to reflect on the life and work of the monarch who died on September 8 at the age of 96.
Surprise visit to the “Queue”
On Saturday, King Charles III. (73) and his son Prince William (40) shown close to the people. Both made a surprise visit to the waiting, the so-called “queue”. The crowd greeted her with applause, cheers and shouts of “God save the King”.
In view of the mass of mourners, the UK Culture Ministry on Sunday called for no more queuing for the Queen’s coffin. “To avoid disappointment, stop driving to get in line,” the ministry wrote on Twitter.
The Queen’s grandsons keep watch
The Queen’s children and eight grandchildren held a 15-minute vigil at the coffin on Saturday. For once, Harry was allowed to wear a military uniform for the occasion. Although the 38-year-old had served in Afghanistan, he is denied this because of his retirement from the royal family.
Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at the age of 96 at her Scottish estate Balmoral Castle. Her coffin would remain in state until early Monday morning in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the British Parliament.
The queen had certain ideas for her funeral, according to former Archbishop of York John Sentamu. “The Queen doesn’t want and didn’t want what you call long, boring shifts,” he told the BBC. You told him that in person. About 2000 people are invited to the state law.
Steinmeyer and von der Leyen are also participating
Numerous representatives of the European aristocracy have also been announced, such as Federal President Steinmeier, US President Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. A government official told the BBC the effort was equivalent to 100 state visits in a matter of days. Several states with which Britain has poor or no relations have not been invited. Most notable is the absence of Russia.
The participation of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako is considered a special honor. Traditionally, Japanese monarchs do not actually attend funerals, either at home or abroad.
It would be surprising, however, that Naruhito, like most guests of honor, is expected to travel to Westminster Abbey by bus. This should help prevent traffic chaos. As the BBC reported, there would be few exceptions, such as for US President Biden or Israeli President Izchak Herzog.
Funeral in Windsor
After the service at the famous Westminster Abbey on Monday, the actual burial will not take place in London but in Windsor to the west, where the coffin will be wheeled. The Queen will receive her final resting place in the evening at a private funeral in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle – along with her husband Prince Philip, who died last year.
A nationwide minute of silence was scheduled for Sunday evening at 8pm (local time) – a final break from the subjects for their queen. In a pre-recorded video message, King Consort Camilla said, “She was always a part of our lives.” She herself could not remember anyone else at the top, Camilla said – and appreciated the Queen’s charisma: “I will always remember her smile, her smile is unforgettable.”