The Royal Family Unites for Queen Elizabeth’s Final Farewell in Windsor – The Daily Beast

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Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was lowered into the royal vault at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, Tuesday, as the royal family and the world bid a final farewell to the iconic monarch. After her coffin disappeared from view, the congregation, led by her son and heir Charles, sang “God Save the King.”

This was the final public service in her honor; later there will be a private committal service in Windsor attended by the family and those closest to her.

Earlier in the day, the expectation that the British royal family would use the queen’s funeral to build bridges with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was rudely shattered Monday morning after the couple were seated in the second row at Queen Elizabeth’s breathtakingly epic state funeral.

Harry was seated in the second row with Meghan, alongside his cousins Beatrice and Eugenie and behind Prince Andrew, the disgraced son of the queen who was expelled from the working ranks of the family over his association with Jeffrey Epstein.

Harry and Meghan were on the right side of the church, behind King Charles. In the front row, in front of Harry, were Charles, Camilla, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, her husband Sir Tim Laurence and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie (both were seen wiping away tears during the service).

Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Prince and Princess of Wales, were also in the front row, along with their children—and, astonishingly, also in the front row were Anne’s children Peter Philips and Zara, who are not working royals and never have been. Zara was accompanied by her husband Mike Tindall.

Sarah, Duchess of York, Prince Andrew’s ex-wife and still close friend—once popularly known as “Fergie”—was also present at the service (and in the second row). King Charles looked visibly upset and bereft.

Britain’s King Charles III (L) and Britain’s Princess Anne, Princess Royal (R) follow the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is pulled on a gun carriage through the streets of London following her State Funeral service at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022.

MARC ASPLAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In the careful word of royal symbolism, where nothing is done by mistake, the placement of the Sussexes will have sent an unmistakable message to the Sussexes that they are now very much second-tier members of the family.

It was an extraordinary moment in an extraordinary day, the ceremonial aspects of which began as Big Ben tolled on the minute, as the queen’s body was carried out of Westminster Hall where she has lain in state for four days, prompting miles-long queues around London, by a bearer party of eight Grenadier Guards and borne on a gun carriage to Westminster Abbey to her funeral.

Her coffin was draped in a Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre. A wreath made from flowers gathered from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Highgrove House on request of King Charles was placed on top of the coffin, ITV Royal News editor Chris Ship tweeted—rosemary for remembrance, and myrtle from a plant grown from a sprig in her 1947 wedding bouquet. Charles requested a nest of moss as a sustainable alternative of floral foam.

A hand-written card placed amid the flowers from her son and heir read: “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.”

The day continued to deliver striking spectacle, as crowds gathered to watch the queen’s coffin be conveyed after the service through the streets of London, down the Mall festooned with Union Jack flags, to Buckingham Palace and on to Wellington Arch, where it was then conveyed into the Royal Hearse for the queen’s final journey out of London to Windsor. Applause rippled through the crowds.

Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales (L) and Britain’s Prince Harry (C), Duke of Sussex arrive at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022, for the State Funeral Service for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

Earlier, on its way into the Abbey, the queen’s coffin was followed by a massed guard of ceremonially clad soldiers and pipers and a royal party including King Charles, Harry, William, and Andrew.

William wore military uniform, but Harry wore civilian clothes. The estranged brothers walked side by side behind the coffin.

Only serving members of the military are technically allowed to wear uniform. Old soldiers are, however, allowed to wear their medals on civilian clothes and Harry proudly displayed his as he marched solemnly behind the coffin. While other members of the family, including William and Anne, saluted the coffin both Harry and Andrew did not.

The funeral itself began with a military precision that would have pleased the famously punctual late monarch at 11 a.m. local time. It ended equally according to schedule an hour later at noon local time, with a rousing rendition of “God Save the King,” then a two-minute silence in the Abbey and across Britain.

The coffin is placed near the altar inside Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022, during the State Funeral Service for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

GARETH FULLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prince George, 9 and Princess Charlotte, 7, the elder children of William and Kate, joined the cortege when the coffin as brought into the church. The palace was said to have been keen for them to have a public role to underline the continuity of monarchy.

The fashion worn on the day was significant. Kate wore a pearl and diamond choker that belonged to the queen, which Princess Diana also once wore. Meghan wore pearl and diamond earrings given to her by the queen. Charlotte wore a horse-shaped brooch, again a gift from the queen.

2,000 mourners gathered at the Abbey for the state funeral, for an iconic monarch who ruled Great Britain for over 70 years.

President Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden arrived shortly after 10 a.m. local time, and was the only world leader permitted to arrive in a private vehicle. He arrived in the Beast, the fortified presidential limousine, in a reduced motorcade of six vehicles. Other leaders arrived by bus. Former British prime ministers, and the present prime minister, Liz Truss, were also in attendance.

Biden was seated 14 rows back, behind President Duda of Poland and in front of Petr Fiala, the prime minister of the Czech Republic. (President Biden and his wife left the U.K. promptly following the service, departing on Air Force One at 2.30 p.m. local time.)

The Royal Hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II at Wellington Arch on September 19, 2022 in London, England.

David Ramos/Getty Images

The royal family united behind the queen’s coffin as it was carried out of Westminster Abbey after the service in a procession en route to Wellington Arch. As the procession passed Buckingham Palace, it was observed by the queen’s devoted present and former staff. The male royals, including Charles, William, and Andrew walked behind the coffin; women, including Camilla, Kate, and Meghan and George and Charlotte, followed in cars behind.

At Wellington Arch, the onetime entrance to Buckingham Palace, silence reigned as the queen’s coffin was placed inside the Royal Hearse to be driven to St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, for a private committal ceremony. A rendition of “God Save the Queen” was played as the vehicle, with large open windows, drove away.

Flowers were thrown towards the hearse by members of the crowd along the route; cheers and applause also erupted as the queen was driven out of London one last time. The bells of Big Ben rang out in celebratory peals to break the somber mood of the day.

Crowds greeted the hearse in Windsor, where her coffin was carried into the chapel followed by Charles, her children, and grandchildren including Harry and William. As her coffin was lowered out of viewer, Pipe Major Paul Burns, of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, played a final lament.

(FromL) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain’s Camilla, Queen Consort, Britain’s Prince George of Wales, Britain’s Catherine, Princess of Wales and Britain’s Princess Charlotte of Wales look at the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in a Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, as they leave Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022, after the State Funeral Service for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

TIM MERRY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The funeral took place in the same church where the queen was crowned in 1953, with guests including Kate Middleton’s parents, Michael and Carole joining a jaw-dropping cast of global dignitaries. The first hymn was the moving “The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended.”

The State Gun Carriage carries the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, as it makes its way for the State Funeral at Westminster Abbey, London on September 19, 2022.

MARC ASPLAND/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

It was expected that up to 100 heads of government or state would attend the funeral, dwarfing the estimated fifty who attended Nelson Mandela’s memorial. It is believed to be the biggest gathering of world leaders in history.

Vladimir Putin was not invited however other controversial leaders were, including Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was reportedly invited but was not expected to attend.

Members of European royal families, many of whom were relatives of the queen, were in attendance, including Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain and the royal families of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Monaco. Also in attendance were the Emperor of Japan, the King of Bhutan, the Sultan of Brunei.

Many of the VIPs were shuttled into the Abbey by coach, after assembling at a Chelsea hospital.

Up to two million members of the public had been expected to line the streets of London to pay their respects to the queen as the Royal Hearse drove to Windsor, where later today the queen will finally be buried alongside her beloved late husband, Prince Philip.

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