Queen’s funeral – latest: 250,000 queued for coffin as royals observe week of mourning – The Independent

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin carried from Westminster Hall ahead of state funeral

Some 250,000 people joined the queue to see Queen Elizabeth II lying-in-state in Westminster Hall, culture secretary Michelle Donelan has said, however her department is still “crunching the numbers”.

Mourners braved waiting times of 24 hours as they queued for miles through central London to view the Queen’s coffin, with more than 1,500 having been treated by ambulance staff and 174 hospitalised.

King Charles III and other royal family members will observe another week of mourning for the Queen after she was laid to rest on Monday at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, alongside the Duke of Edinburgh, her parents King George VI and the Queen Mother, and her sister Princess Margaret.

Her burial in the Royal Vaults came after some 2,000 mourners – including world leaders – attended her state funeral at Westminster Abbey, while thousands of people lined the streets from central London to Windsor.

Asked by Sky News on Tuesday morning, Ms Donelan said that she was “not sure of the exact costings” of the funeral, but insisted that “the British public would argue that that was money well spent”.

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Why was a seat at St George’s Chapel left empty?

King Charles watched the committal service for the Queen from a seat in the second row of St George’s Chapel, with the seat directly in front of the new monarch left intentionally empty.

The King’s seat was the one in which his mother sat during her husband Prince Philip’s funeral last April, and during the two weddings of her grandchildren, Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie, in May and October 2018 respectively.

The seat in front is left empty due to royal protocol, so the view of the proceedings isn’t blocked. Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams previously told The Independent: “The seat in front of the Queen is always left empty and she has a favourite seat in St George’s Chapel.”

Our US lifestyle editor Chelsea Ritschel has the full story:

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Danish royal Princess Mary ‘uninvited’ from Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

A prominent Danish royal was not in attendance at the Queen’s funeral because the UK government revoked her invite at the last minute, reports have claimed.

My colleague Emily Atkinson has the details here:

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More than 1,500 people in ‘the queue’ treated by ambulance staff

Some 1,502 people queuing to see the Queen lying-in-state in Westminster Hall were treated by paramedics, London Ambulance Service has said.

A total of 174 people were hospitalised, according to the ambulance service.

Head injuries after falling or fainting were previously said to have accounted for many of the injuries sustained in the queue.

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Australian TV host falls asleep on camera after 14 hours covering Queen’s funeral

Australian TV presenter Allison Langdon was spotted falling asleep on camera while working a 14-hour shift to cover the Queen’s funeral for the Nine Network.

Viewers shared images on social media of the presenter apparently asleep, with her head resting on a folded jacket, which she then shared to Instagram herself with the caption: “Hour 14. Everything is fine.”

My colleague Louis Chilton has the story:

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David Beckham praises Queen’s ‘legacy of service and devotion to duty’

David Beckham has written a tribute to the Queen, sharing a photograph of her coffin as it was carried through Westminster.

The former England footballer wrote: “Alongside the incredible ceremony and tradition we have watched a loving family grieve for a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother with dignity and dedication. Her legacy of service and devotion to duty will endure … Long live the King.”

My colleague Saman Javed has more details on the tribute here:

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Culture secretary ‘not sure’ how much Queen’s funeral cost

The culture secretary has said that most British people would think the cost of the Queen’s funeral was “money well spent” – but could not put a figure on what that cost might be.

Speaking to Sky News, Michelle Donelan said that around 250,000 people went through Westminster Hall for the Queen’s lying-in-state, but her department – which coordinated the event – was currently “crunching the numbers”.

Pressed about the cost of the funeral, she said: “I’m not sure of the exact costings but, as I say, I think the British public would argue that that was money well spent. You saw so many thousands out there and I don’t think anybody can suggest that our late monarch didn’t deserve that send-off, given the duty and the selfless service that she committed to over 70 years.”

She insisted it would be “downright preposterous” to suggest otherwise, adding: “It was great sense of the community coming together. I always think of our late monarch as the glue that brought society together,” she told the broadcaster.

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Truss ‘hugely honoured’ to have been involved in of one of Queen’s ‘last acts’

Liz Truss has said she was “hugely honoured” that one of the Queen’s “last acts” was formally asking her to become prime minister.

Speaking as she flew to New York for a UN summit, Ms Truss praised the “huge outpouring of love and affection” for the late monarch and said there was a “huge amount of warmth towards” her successor King Charles.

She told reporters: “It has been a momentous period and a period of great grief and sadness in the United Kingdom, and I think you have seen a huge outpouring of love and affection for her late majesty as well as a huge amount of warmth towards King Charles III.

“Today at the funeral we saw such huge public support and I have also seen that from world leaders who have come to London in unprecedented numbers. From my own point of view, I am hugely honoured to have been invited to form a government by Her Majesty the Queen in one of her last acts.

“Since then, I have had two audiences with His Majesty and what I have seen is a huge outpouring of public warmth and support for him and for the whole royal family.”

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Funeral travel chaos worsened by ‘diabolical communication’

Many passengers were stranded on Monday evening in Reading, Berkshire, as disruption to train services in and out of London Paddington continued into the night.

Long queues formed at Reading station as people desperately tried to get on to trains to London. Others found their trains cancelled or delayed as they tried to travel further west.

Station staff tried to order taxis for passengers who lived further afield and risked becoming stranded. Some were taken as far as Birmingham by car. Toilet facilities were also closed despite the crowds.

No trains had been able to enter or leave Paddington station since 6.30am on Monday because of damage to overhead electric wires near Hayes and Harlington station.

Services run by GWR, Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth line had been disrupted all day. People travelling to funeral events in Windsor from London were also affected.

A passenger, who asked not to be named, said: “The communication has been diabolical. People have been told to get off trains that were actually running and change services to get to different destinations, only to find that those trains were then cancelled.

“There doesn’t seem to have been any forward thinking as to what would happen in the evening, despite the problems going on all day.”

Additional reporting by PA

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Flowers left for the Queen in Royal Parks as cleanup operation after the funeral begins

The clean-up operation has begun after thousands of people queued in London to see the Queen’s lying in state and to witness her funeral, with many laying floral tributes for the late monarch across the Royal Parks in recent days.

The queue to Westminster Hall, where the Queen’s coffin was lying in state, began in Southwark Park, about five miles away.

Council officials said they had completed a full inspection of the line’s route through the borough and cleared any litter.

Southwark Council said that, after a brief pause for the funeral, staff would continue to work with government officials and the events company involved “to make sure that Southwark Park, in particular, is fully open and returned to its former splendour”.

In Southwark Park alone, many staff worked 24 extra hours over the four days of the lying in state to keep the green space clean, the council said.

Read the details in this report by Aisha Rimi:

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Key moments from state funeral as Britain said goodbye to longest-reigning monarch

Britain said goodbye to its longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, with a historic funeral on Monday.

Millions around the world watched from afar as 2,000 people – including members of the royal family and hundreds of foreign dignitaries – gathered for the state service at Westminster Abbey.

The funeral began after King Charles III led a procession from nearby Westminster Hall, where the Queen had been lying in state since last week.

During the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury echoed the words spoken by the Queen to the nation during the Covid-19 pandemic and said “we will meet again”.

He added that the “grief” felt around the world over the Queen’s death “arises from her abundant life and loving service”.

My colleague Oliver Browning reports:

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