UK prepares for state funeral and final farewell to Queen Elizabeth | New

The 2,000-person congregation will include world leaders, royalty, representatives of charities and those who have made “extraordinary contributions” in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Britain prepares to say a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II at a grand state funeral, with dozens of world leaders and royalty from Europe to Lesotho and Japan among the 2,000 people attending at the funeral at Westminster Abbey in central London.

The public display of the queen’s coffin, draped in the royal standard with the imperial crown, orb and scepter on it, will end at 6:30 a.m. (0530 GMT) on Monday, followed by the funeral.

Hundreds of thousands of people had lined up for hours to file past the oak coffin for the four days it lay in state. The estimated wait time peaked at more than 25 hours early Saturday and was finally closed to new arrivals on Sunday.

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Emperor Naruhito and United States President Joe Biden joined those paying tribute to Britain’s longest-serving monarch on the final day of the official in state at the age of 900 Westminster Hall.

“You were lucky to have had her for 70 years. We all were,” President Biden said, describing the Queen as “decent, honorable and service-oriented.”

Britain observed a minute’s silence on Sunday evening in honor of Queen Elizabeth.

King Charles III said he and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, had been “so deeply touched” by the messages of condolence and support from Britain and around the world following the death of his mother.

The UK observed a minute’s silence on Sunday evening in honor of the Queen who died on September 8 [Martin Meissner/AP Photo]

“We have been moved beyond measure by all who have taken the trouble to come and pay their respects to the longstanding service of my dear mother, the late Queen,” he said in a statement.

The funeral procession

The state funeral will begin shortly before 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) when the Queen’s coffin will be placed on a cannon carriage and pulled by 142 Royal Navy sailors to the Abbey, the finale of 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-serving monarch. .

The procession will be led by some 200 pipers and percussionists. King Charles, his siblings and sons Princes William and Harry and other members of the Royal Family will walk behind the coffin.

Monday has been declared a public holiday and hundreds of thousands of people are expected on the procession route. The funeral will be screened in front of crowds in parks and public spaces across the UK, as well as in 200 countries around the world.

The Abbey’s tenor bell – the site of coronations, weddings and burials of English and then British kings and queens for nearly 1,000 years – will ring 96 times to mark each year of his life.

“Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the country, from the Commonwealth and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service,” David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster will say.

Japanese Emperor Naruhito bows deeply as he pays respects to Queen Elizabeth
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, right, pays his respects at Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin at Westminster Hall [John Sibley/Pool via AFP]
King Letsie III of Lesotho places his right hand on his heart and bows his head while paying homage to Queen Elizabeth
King Letsie III of Lesotho pays respects to the Queen at Westminster Hall [Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool via AFP]

The congregation at the funeral, the first to be televised, will also include those who have received Britain’s highest military and civilian medals for bravery, representatives of charities supported by the Queen and those who have made ‘extraordinary contributions to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coffin will then pass through central London, past Buckingham Palace to Wellington’s Arch at Hyde Park Corner, followed by the Monarch and Royal Family on foot during the 2.4 km (1.5 mile) procession. 5 miles).

From there it will be placed on a hearse to be driven west to Windsor Castle where the Queen will be buried in the Royal Vault while the Sovereign’s piper plays a lament, slowly driving away until what the music in the chapel gradually fades away.

Elizabeth died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after 70 years on the throne.

Her health was in decline and she had largely withdrawn from official engagements, although just two days before her death she appointed Liz Truss her 15th and final Prime Minister.

Members of the public walk past the Queen's coffin with soldiers in full dress and bearskin hats standing guard
Hundreds of thousands of people lined up for hours for the chance to walk past the coffin and pay their respects to the Queen, the only monarch most Britons have ever known. [Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool via AP Photo]

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