King Charles, William and Harry reunited in grief to escort Queen’s coffin

  • Queen’s coffin from palace to parliament
  • William and Harry in royal procession
  • Lying in state for four days
  • Long queues as people wait for hours to see the coffin

LONDON, Sept. 14 (Reuters) – King Charles, his sons Princes William and Harry and other senior royals took part in a solemn procession taking Queen Elizabeth’s coffin as the late monarch made her final journey from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

Huge crowds gathered in central London to watch the Queen being taken from the palace to Parliament as artillery guns fired salutes and Big Ben rang out, the latest in a series of poignant ceremonies as the nation mourns the Queen who died last week. died at the age of 96 after seven decades on the throne.

Lying on a carriage, covered with the Royal Standard flag and with the Imperial State Crown on a pillow atop a floral wreath, the coffin containing Elizabeth’s body was carried in a slow, gloomy procession from her London home to Westminster Hall. It will remain there for four days.

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Directly behind it walked Charles and his siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

In a group that followed were Charles’ sons, Princes William and Harry, a mournful scene reminiscent of when they followed their mother Princess Diana’s coffin 25 years ago as boys as it was taken on a similar procession through central London. read more

It was also a symbolic display of unity as William, 40, now the Prince of Wales, and Harry, 37, the Duke of Sussex, can barely talk after a bitter argument in recent years.

“Seeing the family was very moving. It was a powerful show of unity,” said Jenny Frame, 54, who waited more than four hours to see the procession.

Paul Wiltshire, 65, commented: “I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again, or a queen like that. An end of an era.”

SILENCE SILENCE

A military band played funeral marches and soldiers in ceremonial scarlet uniforms, some with shining silver breastplates and helmets, accompanied the armored car drawn by the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, as it moved slowly through central London, where many roads were closed to the traffic .

Cannons fired every minute in Hyde Park, while Parliament’s famous Big Ben bell also rang at 60-second intervals. The crowd stood in hushed silence as they watched the procession, then erupted into spontaneous applause when it was over. Some threw flowers.

Other senior royals, including Charles’ wife Camilla, now the Queen Consort, Kate, William’s wife and now Princess of Wales, and Harry’s wife, Meghan, traveled by car.

When the procession reached Westminster Hall, a medieval building with origins dating back to 1097 and the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster that houses the British Parliament, the coffin was carried inside by soldiers of the Grenadier Guards and placed on a catafalque surrounded by candles .

A short service followed, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the Anglican Church, as prominent politicians watched. The royals left quietly, with Harry and Meghan holding hands.

A constant vigil will be kept by soldiers in full ceremonial uniforms at the four corners of the catafalque.

Just after 5pm, the public began to walk past the coffin, some in tears, many with their heads bowed. There will be a steady stream of mourners, 24 hours a day, during the four days from lying in state until the morning of the funeral on September 19.

“We’ve lost someone special,” said Kenneth Taylor, 72, who stayed overnight in a tent to be one of the first in line. He said a lump had formed in his throat when he saw the queen lying in state. “Her service to this country was truly steadfast and unshakable.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Elizabeth had three key roles in her life: head of the family, head of the nation and head of state. Wednesday was the moment when the coffin was transferred from the family to the state.

LONG QUEUE

People started waiting in line late Tuesday, sleeping on the street in the rain, to be among the first to pass the coffin, and there was already a line more than 2 miles long.

Among those in attendance, some were there to represent aging parents, others to witness history, and many to thank a woman who, after she took the throne in 1952, still held official government meetings just two days before her arrival. died.

The government has warned that the queue could eventually stretch for 10 miles along the south bank of the River Thames, passing landmarks such as the gigantic London Eye Ferris wheel and a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. read more

Culture Minister Michelle Donelan said some people may have to queue for up to 30 hours to get past the coffin for Monday’s funeral.

“She is an icon of icons,” said grieving Chris Imafidon. “Out of respect I have to endure this campsite in any case.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, joked to people in line: “We honor two great British traditions, love the Queen and love a line.”

Elizabeth’s coffin was flown back to London late Tuesday from Scotland, where it had stood since her death in her Scottish summer holiday home, Balmoral Castle, with tens of thousands of people lining the 14-mile (22 km) route in the driving rain.

In Scotland, about 33,000 people flocked to the coffin during the 24 hours it was in Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral, but the London commemoration is a much bigger occasion.

As many as 750,000 mourners are expected to walk through Westminster Hall to pay their last respects.

A senior palace official described Wednesday’s harrowing election as relatively small and personal. The large-scale ceremonial procession on the day of her funeral will likely be one of the largest the country has ever witnessed.

Royalty, presidents and other world leaders are expected to attend, although no one from certain countries, such as Russia, Afghanistan and Syria, will be invited. read more

US President Joe Biden, who has said he will be there, spoke to the new king earlier on Wednesday, the White House said, and “transmitted the American people’s great admiration for the queen.”

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Additional reporting by Farouq Suleiman, William James, Elizabeth Piper, Muvija M, Sachin Ravikumar, Humza Jilani, Aiden Nulty, and Manuel Ausloos; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Alex Richardson, Alexandra Hudson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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