World leaders join royal family to pay final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II

The nation has paid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, with a state funeral and military procession as World leaders and foreign royalty joined King Charles III and the Royal Family in the congregation at the Westminster Abbey funeral.

Hundreds of thousands of people watched as the Queen’s coffin was then taken to Windsor, where she will be buried.

At the funeral, the Dean of Westminster paid tribute to the Queen’s “lifelong sense of duty”.

The Very Rev David Hoyle spoke of her “unswerving commitment to a high calling over so many years as Queen and Head of the Commonwealth”.

The congregation sang The Lord’s My Shepherd – a hymn sung at the wedding of the Queen to the late Duke of Edinburgh, which was also held at the abbey.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, said the Queen “touched a multitude of lives” and – quoting singer Dame Vera Lynn – said “we will meet again” as he gave the sermon.

The phrase was used by the Queen in a rare address to the nation at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

The archbishop said: “The grief of this day – felt not only by the late Queen’s family but all round the nation, Commonwealth and world – arises from her abundant life and loving service, now gone from us.”

As the abbey service came towards its end the Last Post was played – by the same musicians who performed it at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral – before the nation came to a standstill for two minutes’ silence.

The Queen’s piper then played a traditional lament before the King stood silently as the national anthem was sung.

Among the personal touches at the ceremony was a handwritten message from the King, which was placed on top of the coffin in a wreath of flowers cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Highgrove House and Clarence House at his request. It read: “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.”

Before the service, the Queen’s coffin was conveyed – in the first of three processions throughout the day – from Westminster Hall where she had been lying in state since Wednesday.

The King walked alongside his siblings, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex walked side-by-side behind their father, the King.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte – Prince William’s eldest two children – entered the abbey behind the procession.

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron were two of those who had travelled to the UK to pay their respects.

Members of many European royal families were present, along with six former British prime ministers and about 200 members of the public who were recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours.

 

  

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