Funeral of Queen Elizabeth Starts at Westminster Abbey

Published September 19th, 2022 - 10:12 GMT
Queen Elizabeth II
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 is taken into Westminster Abbey during the State Funeral Service for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in London on September 19, 2022. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Britain will lay Queen Elizabeth II to rest Monday with a service featuring hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries and as many as two million admirers filling the streets of London to say a final goodbye to the monarch who reigned for 70 years.

The queen had been lying in state inside Westminster Hall since Wednesday and hundreds of thousands of people waited in line -- in some cases for hours and hours -- to walk past her casket.

The funeral procession to Westminster Abbey began around 10: 45 a.m. Monday and the memorial service was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. BST.

"Let us pray for the Royal Family as they gather today to commend Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II into the hands of our loving and faithful God," Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said early Monday. "We come together to give thanks for a long life, lived in service to her people and her Savior, Jesus Christ."

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are among world leaders who are in London to attend the funeral.

On Sunday, they signed the queen's official condolence book at Lancaster House.

"Our hearts go out to the Royal Family -- King Charles and all the family. It's a loss that leaves a giant hole. And sometimes you think you'll never overcome it," Biden told the media. "But as I've told the King, she's going to be with him every step of the way -- every minute, every moment. And that's a reassuring notion."

Some 500 world leaders and dignitaries are expected to attend the service.

The funeral is slated to end at 11:55 a.m. when there will be two minutes of silence that will be observed in all government buildings with local authorities, businesses, organizations and citizens encouraged to join.

A procession with the queen's coffin will then commence through London, traveling past Broad Sanctuary, Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade, Horse Guards Road, The Mall and Constitution Hill before arriving at Wellington Arch where the coffin will be transferred to the State hearse with a final destination of Windsor.

The London mayor's office warned the public on Monday that areas around Buckingham Palace Westminster and those along the procession route are "extremely busy."

"If you are in the vicinity or arriving to watch Her Majesty the Queen's State Funeral and procession, please be patient and follow the advice of stewards and police," it said in a statement.

Shortly after 9 a.m., the city said all procession viewing areas were full and no entry to new arrivals would be permitted. The office said it expected as many as two million mourners to descend on London for the occasion.

As the hearse departs, the parade will give a Royal Salute and the national anthem will play.

At 4 p.m., a committal service for the Queen will be held at St George's Chapel.

At 7:30 p.m., there will be a private burial at King VI Memorial Chapel.

The queen reigned for 70 years from 1952 until her death on Sept. 8 at the age of 96.

As queen of Britain she also served as head of the Commonwealth, which includes 54 nations, 14 of which count the monarch as their head of state.

On Sunday night, the royal family released a new photo of the queen taken to mark Platinum Jubilee in February.

"Tomorrow, millions will come together to commemorate her remarkable life," the royal family said in a statement.

This article has been adapted from its original source

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