May 28, 2023

LONDON (AP) – Britain and the world are taking to the rest of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday at a state funeral that will draw presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers – and take to the streets of London to say a final goodbye Up to one lakh people will line up. For a monarch whose 70-year rule defines an era.

A day full of funeral events in London and Windsor began early when the doors of the 900-year-old Westminster Hall were closed to mourners after hundreds of thousands filed in front of his coffin since 14 September. Many of them had spent cold nights outside to pay their respects around the coffin wrapped in the Queen’s flag in a wave of national mourning and respect.

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The completion of the hall marked the end of more than four days for the coffin lying in the kingdom and the beginning of Britain’s first state funeral held in 1965 for Winston Churchill, the first of 15 prime ministers during Elizabeth’s reign. Two days before her death on 8 September at her Balmoral summer retreat, the Queen appointed Liz Truss, her last prime minister.

Among the last mourners to join the line to see the coffin was Tracy Dobson of Hertfordshire, north of London.

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He said, “I felt like I had to come and pay my last respects to my majestic queen, she has done so much for us and just a little thank you on behalf of the people.”

Monday has been declared a public holiday in honor of Elizabeth, who died on September 8 at 96. His funeral will be broadcast live in more than 200 countries and territories around the world and shown to crowds in parks and public places across the UK.

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Police officers from across the country will be on duty as part of the largest one-day police operation in the history of London.

On the evening before the funeral, King Charles III issued a message of thanks to people in the UK and around the world, saying that he and his wife Camilla, the Queen consort, were “taken beyond measure” by a large number of people. Has gone. Went out to pay homage to the queen.

He said, “As we all prepare to bid our final farewell, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless people who have provided so much support and consolation to my family and myself in this time of sorrow. given.”

For the funeral, Elizabeth’s coffin will be carried on a royal gun carriage pulled by 142 Royal Navy sailors, across the street from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. The same carriage was used to carry the coffins of the late kings Edward VII, George V and George VI and Churchill.

Services at the Gothic medieval monastery, where Elizabeth was married in 1947 and crowned in 1953, will include 2,000 people ranging from world leaders to health care workers and volunteers.

Soon after 8 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT) mourners began arriving to take their seats. As dignitaries were arriving later, several heads of state had gathered to be taken by bus to the abbey at a nearby hospital. Hours before the start of the service, London officials said all viewing areas along the way to the funeral procession were full.

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The funeral will end with a two-minute silence with the national anthem and a piper’s lament, before the Queen’s coffin is carried in a procession by units of the Armed Forces in uniform, with the Queen’s children following behind, Wellington. Hyde Park near Ark.

There, it would be placed in a hares to be taken to Windsor for another procession along the Long Walk, an avenue three miles (five kilometers) leading to the city’s palace, before a committed service at St George’s Chapel. She will then be laid to rest with her late husband, Prince Philip, in a private family service.

Central London was packed with people before dawn on Monday, and officials warned it would be extremely busy.

US President Joe Biden was among leaders paying respects at the Queen’s coffin on Sunday, as thousands of police, hundreds of British soldiers and an army of officers prepared for the funeral – a spectacular display of national mourning that would also be the biggest in years. A gathering of world leaders from

Biden called Queen Elizabeth II “decent” and “honorable” and “all about service” as he signed a condolence book saying his heart goes out to the royal family.

People across Britain observed a minute’s silence on Sunday at 8 p.m. in memory of the sole monarch, the most known ever. At Westminster Hall, the continuous stream of mourners stopped for 60 seconds as people observed minutes of reflection in profound silence.

It started to rain in Windsor as the crowd fell silent for a moment of reflection. Some set up small camps and chairs outside Windsor Castle, reserving the best places to spend the night there to see the Queen’s coffin.

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“It will all be worth it by 4 p.m. today,” said Sally McCloud, a business manager from nearby Maidenhead. “We are all here for a reason, whether it rains or not. So I am very happy to be here and got some sleep. I’ve had a nice cup of coffee this morning and we’ll just wait, wait in the rain.”

Fred Sweeney, 52, who took his place on the big flag with two Union flags, said, “It’s just one night and day in our lives. Elizabeth gave us – you know – 70 years.”

A no-show for Monday’s funeral will be Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose invitation has drawn criticism from human rights groups over the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia is expected to be represented by the second royal, Prince Turki bin Mohammed.