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Saturday, June 10, 2023

A Funeral Fit for a Monarch

The ceremonial wake and burial of Queen Elizabeth II attracted thousands of her admirers who wished her a final farewell.

Newsroom (20/09/2022 10:30 AM, Gaudium PressEnding the longest reign in British history, Elizabeth II passed away peacefully, surrounded by a few members of her family, at Balmoral Castle, Scotland. And although, in today’s world, everything is very much geared toward the practical and functional, and at the same time far removed from solemnities, grandeur, and splendor, no detail of the ceremonial wake and burial of the Queen of England was overlooked.

Highlighting the nobility and dignity of the woman who, for 70 years, was, in a very special way, a reference and model for her nation, all the processions and vigils were carried out with the utmost decorum.

Leaving Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s coffin headed for Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh (the monarch’s official residence in Scotland). From there it departed in procession to Saint-Giles Cathedral, where the public could worship her for a little over 24 hours.

A solemn procession of military personnel and members of the Royal Family moved the coffin (draped with the royal standard and topped by the Imperial Crown) from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. The public, who were moved, watched the procession under the English flags that decorated the route.

Until this morning, Queen Elizabeth II’s body remained in Westminster Hall, the same place that twenty years earlier had hosted the wake of her mother, Queen Mary, and where more than 200,000 people had flocked to see her coffin.

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Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, placed on a scaffold, was sheltered by the beautiful 11th century wooden ceiling of Westminster Hall and watched over by the Royal Household guards. Once inside the enclosure and deposited on the dais with exquisite ceremony, the public was allowed to enter.

The serious atmosphere surrounding the catafalque makes one think not only of the gravity of the death, but especially of the past of that monarch who, being undeniably a symbol of tradition, nobility and the last traces of Christian civilization, left this world. The tears of those who were part of a line nearly 8 Km long are testimony to the grief and longing for this past of glory.

Today, finally, the body was transferred to Westminster Abbey[1], when there was two minutes of silence throughout the country. The funeral procession later proceeded from the aforementioned Abbey to Wellington Arch, where the coffin made its final journey towards Saint George’s Chapel[2] at Windsor Castle, and was finally buried in King George VI’s Memorial Chapel.

May the admirable image of Elizabeth II, although no longer among men, not be erased from the souls of those who took her as a guide for their people.

By Cicero Leite

[1] Westminster Abbey is the historic church where the kings and queens of England are crowned. It was the site of Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, and also of her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947.

[2] Saint George’s Chapel is the church normally chosen by the Royal Family for weddings, baptisms and funerals. It is where the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan, recently took place, and where Prince Philip’s funeral took place in April 2021.

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