FUNERAL OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II
As I write this from Keswick, in the north of England, on the day before the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the feeling of national mourning is palpable around me. The country grieves for the loss of their Queen, everyone’s ”gran.” One rarely passes by a shop window here that does not have a picture of the Queen in it.
Last Week’s Procession
The formal procession of the Queen, following her death in Scotland, through Edinburgh attracted huge crowds, lining the streets as her motorcade went by. The queue to pay regards to her lying in state in London is hours long. The great and the good came to pay respect. The common and the celebrity passed by. David Beckham stood in line for 13 hours; no special VIP queue for him.
The young and old spent many hours in the line to pay their respects to the woman who kept her promise to serve her nation and people for over 70 years. See my article on the celebration of her 70-year Diamond Jubilee.
One woman, when asked what she thought about the prospect of standing in line for 24 hours, replied:
“She served England for over 70 years. I can give two days for her.”
Tomorrow’s State Funeral
Officials and the military are rehearsing their parts. Her coffin will arrive at the West Gate of the Westminster, where it will be carried inside for the state funeral starting at 11:00 AM. At 11:55 the Last Post will be sounded in Westminster Hall, followed by a national two minutes’ silence. At noon the state funeral will end with a lament played by the Queen’s piper.
Then the coffin will leave Westminster for Wellington Arch, where it will be placed in a state hearse to begin its journey to Windsor. After the Royal family walks behind the coffin at Windsor, they will proceed to the quadrangle of Windsor Castle. A private burial service will be held in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel. Her coffin and that of the Duke of Edinburgh will be moved from the royal vault to the chapel where it will be interred.
Tonight’s Special Services
Even church flags fly at half mast. Tonight, the local Parish church in Keswick had a 6:00 PM service for the Queen. Hundreds attended from other churches around the area. Local pastors joined to present. Mayors with their chains of office, soldiers with their medals, and ambulance drivers were there. Even Girl Guides participated in the service, praying for the Royal family and King Charles, particularly.
We all sang hymns, prayed the Lord’s Prayer, and sang the National Anthem. The Vicar’s address mentioned that England is a divided nation, even on the subject of the monarchy,
“We are all united in our mourning for Queen Elizabeth.”
It brought tears to my eyes. I was struck by the reverence, respect, and honor I saw paid to the Queen. I said as much to the Vicar after the service, sharing with him that these things that are in precious short supply in my own country.
God Save the King
Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian
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