Farewell in Great Britain: "The Queen was my Queen"

Hundreds of people have gathered in the middle of Ipswich in eastern England. The Queen's funeral service on a screen.

A family in a public square

Husband and wife Dan and Steph Harris with their children at the public viewing in Ipswich Photo: Daniel Zylbersztajn-Lewandowski

IPSWICH taz | Completely empty streets welcome visitors in the early morning on their way from the train station to Ipswich city centre. Only in the heart of the city did around 300 people gather around a digital screen. They want to watch the Queen's funeral live. The deckchairs and chairs that the city has set up are fully occupied, some visitors have to stand, others have taken a seat on the stairs or on the floor.

Some hug, hold hands or dry their tears. Nobody is speaking. Only the voice of an employee at a nearby hot dog stand can be heard. Then an anthem resounds across the square: the live transmission begins.

Ipswich - this is an ancient port city in Suffolk, about 100 kilometers north-east of London, which was badly hit by German attacks in both world wars. The approximately 140,000 citizens of Ipswich initially seemed to have surprised the city administration with their interest in the royal family. Because at the proclamation of King Charles III. on Saturday a week ago, two days after the Queen's death, 6,500 people had gathered here for the public viewing. In short, Mayor John Cook organized a live public broadcast for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.

Pay respects to the late boss

For 52-year-old Stephen Black it is natural to follow the funeral service here in the city center in public. "I'm a veteran of the Royal Air Force, Station Wattisham," reports the man with a medal of merit on his jacket. "I served with Prince Harry and Prince William." It is therefore natural that "people from this regiment show their sympathy and respect for their deceased boss". By Boss he means the Queen.

Husband and wife Dan and Steph Harris, who have brought their two children with them, are from Framingham, about 20 miles away. They say it's important to see the funeral publicly so that the children can remember it later. "Ipswich was just the closest place to us."

Mechanic Steven Malkin, 59 years old, sobs. He is wearing a denim jacket and a red headscarf. "Ipswich is my city and the Queen was my Queen," he says. As a young boy he saw Elizabeth II on a visit to Ipswich.

The Queen has also seen Angela Scrivener in the financial district of London, where she worked at the time. "It was just after the July 7, 2005 terrorist attack and I remember exactly what she was wearing," she says. Her husband Jeff explains that being here in the town square is like a service in a church. "The hymns move us because we are devout Christians."

Eve Abbott, 18 years old

“We will tell future generations about this”

You realize that something historical is happening here

Chance brought some of those present. For example Lauren Wright, Esther South and Eve Abbott, all 18 years old. "We went out to meet friends," says Eve. "My parents complained because I didn't want to watch the funeral on TV at home." The three describe how the live broadcast suddenly captivated them because they realized that something special, historical was happening here. "Suddenly we realized that it's something that we're going to tell future generations about," says Eve.

After the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, finished his homily at Westminster Abbey, Victoria Biutanaseva, 48, who has come with her 12-year-old twin daughters Litiana and Lilibet, says the words moved her deeply. "It didn't matter who she was, she was just honored as a person with love and respect."

Edward John Gemmel, 41, who watches the service from a bench at the back of the square, also liked the words. The homeless man, who has numerous tattoos on his face, says: "In the end we all end up in the same pit." He is very sad "because the Queen has done a lot for the country".

When the national anthem with the words "God Saves the King" sounds in the service in Westminster Abbey, everyone rises. Tears flow. Even a police officer has to dry her eye again. Finally, at 12 noon, the bells from the town hall mingle with the end of the transmission. Later, in the Mannings Pub in the town square, a group of sociable people raise their beer glasses: "Cheers to the Queen!"

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