The Queen’s state funeral has ended, and her coffin is now being carried to Wellington Arch, from where it will travel by state hearse to Windsor.
After the nation paused in remembrance for a two-minute silence, the King and other members of the royal family are following the coffin on foot as it is carried on a gun carriage drawn by naval ratings to Wellington Arch, before being driven to Windsor.
As millions watched around the UK and the Commonwealth, 2,000 mourners, including hundreds of world leaders and foreign royalty, came together to reflect on the Queen’s life and reign. The service included readings from Liz Truss, the prime minister, and a selection of the Queen’s favourite hymns and music.
The Archbishop of Canterbury described the Queen as having touched “a multitude of lives” and being a “joyful” figure for many, in his sermon.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said the outpouring of emotion “arises from her abundant life and loving service, now gone from us”.
He echoed the Queen’s reassuring words from her lockdown address to the nation, when he told the Westminster Abbey congregation that all who follow her example, and her faith in God, “can with her say: ‘We will meet again”’.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, read the first lesson from Corinthians, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
The prime minister, on her 14th day in the job, read the second lesson for mourners. Taken from John 14, the lesson was one of comfort, evoking the promise of eternal life in Heaven.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr David Hoyle, conducted the service. The hymns, chosen by the Queen, were The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended, The Lord’s My Shepherd and Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.
The choir also sang a setting of Psalm 42, Like as the Hart, which was specially composed for the service by Judith Weir, who in 2014 became master of the Queen’s Music.
The choir sang two anthems — Charles Parry’s My Soul, There is a Country, and Who Shall Separate us from the Love of Christ? which was composed for the service by the Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan.
Before the coffin procession left the abbey, Major Paul Burns, piper to the sovereign, played the traditional lament Sleep, Dearie, Sleep.
It was the first state funeral to be held since that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, and marks the end of ten days of events across the country since the Queen died.
All former living prime ministers were present: Sir John Major, Sir Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson. World leaders included President Biden, Jacinda Ardern, President Macron and Justin Trudeau.
Members of many European royal families, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark, as well as the Emperor and Empress of Japan, were also present.
Photo Credit: Getty