Today marks the final farewell of Queen Elizabeth II after a 70 year reign.
Today’s state funeral gathered presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers – and crowds who massed along the streets of London.
Before the the service, a bell tolled 96 times – once a minute for each year of Elizabeth’s life. Then, 142 Royal Navy sailors used ropes to draw the gun carriage carrying her flag-draped coffin to Westminster Abbey. Pallbearers finally bore it into the abbey, where around 2,000 people ranging from world leaders to health care workers gathered to mourn her.
The coffin was draped with the royal standard and on top was the Imperial State Crown, as well as the sovereign’s orb and sceptre.
“Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service, and in sure confidence to commit her to the mercy of God our maker and redeemer,” the dean of the medieval abbey, David Hoyle, told the mourners, as the funeral opened.
Below a statue of Queen Elizabeth II as seen in Ottawa Canada.
The service drew to a close with two minutes of silence observed across the United Kingdom, after which the attendees sang the national anthem, now titled “God Save the King.”
The day began early when the doors of Parliament’s 900-year-old Westminster Hall were closed to mourners after hundreds of thousands had filed in front of her coffin. Many had waited for hours in line, including through cold nights, to attend the lying in state in an outpouring of collective grief and respect.
Monday was declared a public holiday in honour of Elizabeth, who died Sept. 8 – and hundreds of thousands of people descended on central London for the historic moment.