Queen Elizabeth II Lies in State as Crowds Pay Respects

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin left Buckingham Palace on a horse-drawn carriage and was saluted by cannons and Big Ben in a mournful procession to Westminster Hall. There, mourners honored Britain’s longest-reigning king.

Her son, King Charles III, and his siblings and sons marched behind the coffin, which had a wreath of white roses and her crown on a purple velvet pillow.

The military parade highlighted Elizabeth’s 70 years as head of state as national grief switched to London’s broad boulevards and historic landmarks.

Queen Elizabeth Ii Lies in State as Crowds Pay Respects
Queen Elizabeth Ii Lies in State as Crowds Pay Respects

Crowds passed the queen’s casket at 900-year-old Westminster Hall late into the night. They proceeded slowly down the hall’s steps, past a coffin covered with the Royal Standard and set on a catafalque by eight pallbearers.

There were couples and parents with children, veterans wearing medals, MPs, and House of Lords members. Some wore black or suits and ties, others jeans and shoes; all had waited hours to view the casket.

Some wept and bowed or curtsied.

Thousands who waited for hours along The Mall outside the palace and other spots along the route held up phones and cameras as the casket passed. Horse Guards Parade applauded. Thousands more watched in neighboring Hyde Park.

The casket was crowned with the Imperial State Crown and an arrangement of flowers and plants, including pine from the Balmoral Estate, where Elizabeth died at age 96.

Two officers and 32 soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards walked on either side of the gun carriage. The 38-minute procession finished at Westminster Hall, where Charles and other royals attended a liturgy.

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After a short service, the captain of The Queen’s Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards put the regimental standard on the catafalque.

Two Life Guards and two Blues Royals officers began the vigil by bowing at each corner.

Thousands lined along the Thames River to pay their respects to the only queen most Britons had ever known.

Kenyan-born Briton Esther Ravenor was humbled by the procession.

“I love the queen and the royal family,” she remarked. “She’s an inspiration.” She adored everyone. Especially someone like myself, a migrant woman who came to the U.K. 30 years ago, I honor her. She was important to me.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, who planned the queen’s burial ceremonies, said it was “our last opportunity to do our duty for the queen and our first for the king, and that makes us all very proud.”

Since the queen’s death, troops have been preparing. King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery horses had too.

Sgt. Tom Jenks said the horses were taught to manage weeping mourners, flowers, and flags.

Heathrow Airport temporarily paused flights to “guarantee silence over central London” during the royal procession.

White House: Biden called Charles to offer condolences.

Biden recalled “the Queen’s generosity and hospitality” at Windsor Castle in June, a statement stated. “He communicated the American people’s love for the Queen, whose dignity and steadfastness reinforced the U.S.-U.K. friendship”

Crowds followed the queen’s coffin from Scotland to London.

Tuesday night, many braved a typical London drizzle to watch the hearse drive from an aviation base to Buckingham Palace.

33,000 people passed her casket at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh in 24 hours.

A government tracker said the line to enter Westminster Hall, the oldest building in Parliament, was 3 miles long in the afternoon.

Guy Fawkes and Charles I were tried in the hall, where kings and queens enjoyed medieval banquets and where Queen Elizabeth II received silver, golden, and diamond jubilee addresses.

Chris Bond from Truro, England, waited to see the queen’s coffin. He attended 2002’s queen’s mother’s funeral.

“It’s difficult to queue all day, but when you step into Westminster Hall, that magnificent, historic edifice, there’s a fantastic sense of silence, and it’s amazing,” he remarked.

“We know the queen was old and served the country well, but we hoped this day would never come,” he said.

Chris Imafidon finished sixth.

“Seeing her gives me 1,001 emotions,” he stated. “God, she was an angel since she helped so many decent people”