The Final Farewell to Her Majesty The Queen – Westminster Abbey

The world said goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II today, in scenes unlike any we have seen for more than seventy years.

Scenes most of us will not experience again in our lifetimes. 

It was a day we knew was coming, but somehow managed to avoid thinking about it until the reality was upon us. But reality landed today. It was a hard landing.  

The Queen’s lying-in-state ended at 6.30 this morning, and preparations were underway for the procession bringing her coffin from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. At the Abbey, guests started arriving early, with royals and dignitaries from around the world attending the State Funeral. Below, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (left) and Queen Jetsun Pema (2nd left) of Bhutan, Emperor Naruhito of Japan (center), and his wife, Empress Masako.

Below left, Queen Anne-Marie and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece. In the center, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco.
A video showing the Prime Ministers of the Realm as they arrived.

You can see in this photo how the seats were marked for guests. 

Sarah Ferguson as she arrived at the Abbey.

Angela Kelly, the longtime aide, and confidante of the Queen, who was HM’s personal assistant, advisor, and curator.

Lady Pamela Hicks (seated), one of the late Queen’s bridesmaids, and daughter of Lord Mountbatten, and her daughter, India Hicks (standing), was a bridesmaid at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. 

In this image, you see King Harald of Norway (far left), Queen Letizia and King Felipe of Spain, Queen Rania, and King Abdullah II of Jordan as they arrived.

From The Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander (center), his mother, Princess Beatrix (left), and Queen Maxima (right).

The Duke of Kent (L) and Prince Michael (R) are cousins to the Queen.

Mike and Zara Tindall. 

As guests arrived at Westminster, members of the public were gathering in places like Hyde Park, where big screen TVs were set up.

The Daily Mail reported there were more than 2 million people “in central London along procession routes and watching on big screens” today.

Back to Westminster, here you see the Middletons, Michael, and Carole, arriving.

Mike Tindall with James, Viscount Severn. 

 Lady Sarah Chatto. 

Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall, Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. 

At precisely 10:44 am, the procession carrying the coffin left Westminster Hall and traveled to Westminster Abbey, where the Queen was married and crowned. It was carried to the Abbey on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy.

More from Forces News. 

About 140 sailors were involved in either pulling the gun carriage or marching behind to act as a brake – in a tradition dating back to the funeral of Queen Victoria.

As the procession moved off, the sounds of massed Pipes and Drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas, and the Royal Air Force numbering 200 musicians filled the air.

Immediately following the coffin were the King, members of the Royal Family and members of the King’s Household.

A closer look at the sailors pulling the gun carriage. 

The tradition goes back generations. 

The carriage was most recently used in 1979 for the funeral of Lord Mountbatten, Prince Philip’s uncle. Walking behind the coffin, the Bearer Party.

This shows you the people in that group. 

Another video. 

King Charles and the Prince of Wales during the procession.

Clergy and other officiants await the procession. 

The coffin arrives at the Abbey.

Some of those in the official Bearer Party drove, following behind the procession, including the Queen Consort, Princess of Wales, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte. Below, Princess Charlotte enters the Abbey.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the back of the Abbey with their mother. 

Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, the Princess of Wales, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex as they are about to enter the procession.

The wreath on the coffin is made of flowers and foliage from the gardens at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Highgrove House. The foliage was selected for its symbolism: rosemary for remembrance; myrtle, the ancient symbol of a happy marriage, and cut from a  plant that was grown from a sprig of myrtle in Her Late Majesty’s wedding bouquet in 1947; and English oak, symbolizing the strength of love.

At the King’s request, the wreath was made sustainably, without floral foam, in a nest of English moss and oak branches. The card on top of the coffin is from the King, with the message, “In loving and devoted memory, Charles R.”

The Queen’s coffin was draped in the royal standard, with the orb and sceptre.

From The Evening Standard’s coverage: 

The service, which will be led by the dean of Westminster, Dr David Hoyle, has begun, with the sermon being delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

He told the congregation: “Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service, and in sure confidence to commit her to the mercy of God our maker and redeemer.”

The Wessex family and Prince Andrew. 

A wide shot inside the Abbey.

The Right Honourable, the Baroness Scotland of Asthal KC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, read the first lesson. 

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 

The congregation sang The Lord’s My Shepherd, a hymn also sung at the wedding of HM and the Duke of Edinburgh. 

Prime Minister Liz Truss read the second lesson, from John 14: 1–9a.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

The choir then sang a short anthem composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams for The Queen’s Coronation in  1953. 

Prince William and Prince George. 

This was followed by the Precentor leading the congregation in The Lord’s Prayer, saying, “In confidence and hope, let us pray to the Father in the words our Saviour taught us.” 

The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the commendation.

Let us commend to the mercy of God, our maker and redeemer, the soul of Elizabeth, our late Queen. 

Go forth, O Christian soul, from this world, in the name of God the Father almighty, who created thee; in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who suffered for thee; in the name of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out upon thee and anointed thee. In communion with all the blessed saints, and aided by the angels and archangels and all the armies of the heavenly host, may thy portion this day be in peace, and thy dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen.

The Dean pronounced the blessing: 

God grant to the living grace; to the departed rest; to the Church, The King, the Commonwealth, and all people, peace and concord, and to us sinners, life everlasting; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Last Post was sounded by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry, the same musicians who performed it at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

This was followed by a two-minute silence observed in Westminster Abbey and across the United  Kingdom. After the silence, the national anthem rings out across Westminster Abbey, including a second verse. 

The Queen’s Piper, Warrant Officer Paul Burns, played “Sleep, dearie, sleep,” a traditional lament. 

Her Majesty’s coffin as the procession leaves the Abbey.

Another view. 

The Queen Consort, Princess of Wales, Countess of Wessex, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte as they exit the Abbey.

The Group continued to watch the procession get underway. 
 
Lady Frederick Windsor (née Sophie Winkleman), Lord Frederick Windsor (right), and his mother, Princess Michael of Kent. 

Lady Gabriella Kingston and her husband, Thomas Kingston, as they left the Abbey.

Prince Michael of Kent, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex,  and Camilla, Queen Consort

Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands.

The Princess exits the Abbey with George and Charlotte to join the Queen Consort for the procession to Windsor.

Briefly, the Princess of Wales wore what appears to be an Alexander McQueen coatdress like an ivory style worn for the June 2021 G7 reception, then seen again at the Platinum Jubilee Trooping the Colour parade. That dress is ivory, and of course, today’s design is black. Her jewelry included the same necklace and earrings she wore to Prince Philip’s April funeral in 2021, designs that were also worn by Diana, Princess of Wales. The four-strand pearl and diamond necklace was first noted when worn to a private party in 2017 celebrating the Queen and Prince Philips’s 70th anniversary. The earrings were the Bahrain Pearl and Diamond Drops, made from pearls given to the Queen as a wedding gift. The Princess wore a four-strand pearl bracelet seen at the State Dinner for the United States. 

This is the first of two posts. The second will cover the remarkable procession to Windsor and the service at St. George’s Chapel. I’ll close this post with a darling (and short) video of Prince George and Princess Charlotte showing their respect. 

VIDEOS:

It looks like the BBC has nine hours+ of coverage of today’s services and processions. 

 The movement of the coffin from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. 

The full national anthem. 

The last person in the Queue at Westminster Hall to see HM Lying-in-State.