The funeral begins at Westminster Abbey


Queen Elizabeth II's coffin is carried out of Westminster Abbey.

The destination of the funeral procession is Windsor.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

London The funeral service for Queen Elizabeth II, who died ten days ago, has become a global event. For three hours, around 500 heads of state and government as well as monarchs from all over the world streamed into Westminster Abbey, where at 12 p.m. (11 a.m. British time) the funeral service for Queen Elizabeth II, who died ten days ago, took place. Among them were US President Joe Biden, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. A total of seven British Prime Ministers were present - from John Major to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and the current Prime Minister Liz Truss.

It was almost a small United Nations (UN) General Assembly held in the heart of London. The approximately 2,000 guests also included almost 200 British citizens who have made outstanding contributions to the common good and were therefore invited to the funeral of the century.

Westminster Abbey is a special place for the royal family and especially for the late Queen: Elizabeth was married here in 1947 to Prince Philip, who died a year ago. Here she was crowned Queen in 1953. This is where an extraordinary life and a 70-year reign come to an end in front of a total of 2200 invited guests.

Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II: A million mourners gather in London

No monarch has "reigned" longer than the Queen. Even if her role as head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth countries was primarily representative. There are still around 40 countries around the world that formally consider themselves a monarchy – even if political power has long been in other hands.

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In whole Great Britain the flags flew at half-mast today. Around a million mourning citizens had gathered along the Mall, the boulevard in the heart of London that runs from Buckingham Palace almost to Trafalgar Square. Several billion people around the world made the funeral service one of the biggest TV events of all time. In Hyde Park, the citizens followed the meticulously planned funeral ceremonies on huge screens.

>> Read also: All current developments regarding the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II can be found in our live blog

Most shops and offices in London remained closed on this national holiday. However, if you wanted to buy a coffee or a snack, there were enough stalls along the route for the funeral procession that followed later.

At 11.35am the Queen's coffin was carried out of Westminster Hall onto a carriage which was towed by 142 members of the Royal Navy at 11.44am to nearby Westminster Abbey. The coffin was laid out in Westminster Hall for four days, and around 750,000 people passed by in mourning after having to wait up to 20 hours in a kilometer-long queue on the south bank of the Thames to be admitted.

funeral service

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin has reached Westminster Abbey.

(Photo: AP)

The carriage, which used to be used to transport cannons, was first used at the funeral of Queen Victoria. Since then it has been used for the funerals of Edward VII, George V, George VI, Winston Churchill and Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Burial of Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle

To the sound of Scottish bagpipes and Northern Irish drums, King Charles III. and his wife Camilla, along with other members of the royal family, carry the coffin on their short walk to the cathedral. The funeral service began there at 12 noon sharp, led by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered the funeral sermon. The cleric recalled that the Queen promised on her 21st birthday that she would devote her life to serving the people. Nobody kept that promise better than Elizabeth II. "During the pandemic, she promised: we'll see each other again," Welby said. Those were words of hope and comfort.

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin

Queen Elizabeth's coffin is transported through London on the carriage.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

At the end of the ceremony, the whole of the UK sat in total silence for two minutes in memory of the Queen. People in Belfast, Edinburgh and London closed their eyes and bowed their heads to the deceased. The coffin was then carried in sunshine on the gun carriage in a funeral procession through Broad Sanctuary, Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade, Horse Guards Road, The Mall and Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner.

Not only the royal family followed the coffin, but also employees of the national health service NHS. Among them was May Parsons, who, as a nurse, carried out the first corona vaccination in Great Britain in 2020.

Kings Charles III, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew

The King and his siblings followed Queen Elizabeth II's coffin to Westminster Abbey.

(Photo: AP)

At Wellington Arch, the coffin is then loaded onto the hearse, which takes the dead Queen across west London to Windsor. A second funeral service will be held there in St. George's Chapel in front of around 800 mourners. At around 5 p.m., the Queen will be buried with her family next to her husband Prince Philip on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

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