Queen’s coffin journeys to Windsor Castle for burial
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Britain said farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday at a historic state funeral attended by world leaders before a last ceremonial journey through London streets packed with sorrowful mourners.
The long procession filed past Downing Street, government buildings in Whitehall, through Horse Guards Parade and up The Mall, the tree-lined avenue that leads to Buckingham Palace decked out in red, white, and blue.
King Charles saluted, and the national anthem played again before the hearse headed west by road to Windsor Castle.
The queen will be buried alongside her father, King George VI; her mother, queen Elizabeth; and sister, princess Margaret, reuniting in death the family who once called themselves “us four”.
The coffin of her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99, will also be transferred to lie alongside her.
Elizabeth’s funeral could not be more different from Philip’s at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in April 2021.
Coronavirus restrictions limited mourners to just 30, led by the queen, a solitary figure in mourning black and a matching facemask.
The contrast was profound on Monday. The abbey was packed with dignitaries and some ordinary Britons who were honoured for their military or community service, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the procession after the funeral, Big Ben, the giant bell atop the Elizabeth Tower at one end of the Houses of Parliament, tolled, and military guns fired at one-minute intervals.
At Windsor, the Sebastopol Bell – captured in Crimea in 1856 – and the Curfew Tower Bell also sounded.
A vast television audience was expected to watch the funeral worldwide and live online; a sign of the enduring fascination with the woman once described as “the last global monarch”.
With Elizabeth seen as Britain’s final link between its imperial past, victory in World War II, and the modern era, many of those lining the streets said they had to bear witness.