Elizabeth II’s coffin left Buckingham Palace for Westminster

Elizabeth II’s coffin arrived on Wednesday after a procession led by her children from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, where it will be on public display until her state funeral on Monday.

To the tune of funeral marches by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Chopin played by a military band, tens of thousands of people, often in tears, watched for about forty minutes as the procession passed.

Transported on a horse-drawn gun carriage and flanked by soldiers in ceremonial clothing, the coffin was draped with the royal standard, on which rested the Imperial Crown, made in 1937 and set with 2,868 diamonds.

He was followed on foot by King Charles III, his brothers Andrew and Edward, and his sister Anne. They were followed side by side by Princes William and Harry, Charles’ two troubled sons, who are appearing together for the second time since Elizabeth II’s death last Thursday at the age of 96.

King Charles, Princess Anne and their brothers Andrew and Edward (left to right), followed side by side by Prince William and Harry. [DAVID CLIFF – KEYSTONE]

Long queues

Britons are expected to come by the hundreds of thousands and meditate closer to their revered monarch, who is unanimously celebrated for her total devotion to the crown during her reign.

To mark the occasion, Westminster Hall is open 24 hours a day, from 5pm on Wednesday to 6.30am on Monday, the day of his funeral at Westminster Abbey. But you have to be patient, with long queues that can stretch for around fifteen kilometers.

Thousands were already waiting on the bench opposite Parliament on Wednesday. The first to arrive had spent the night there.

>> The pictures in the streets of London:

Brits queued all night to see the Queen's coffin [RTS]

Brits queued all night to see the Queen’s coffin / Video News / 1 min / Today at 15:53

The coffin of the Queen, who died in Scotland, arrived in the British capital on Tuesday evening and spent the night at Buckingham Palace, where King Charles III. and his family received.

>> Read again: Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin has arrived in London

Thousands of people cheered the hearse on its way to the center of the capital. All British newspapers published the front page photo of the hearse entering Buckingham Palace.

To the sounds of Big Ben

Every minute from the start of the procession, Big Ben’s largest bell rang and cannon shots were fired from Hyde Park.

Before her long farewell to the London public, Elizabeth II’s coffin was uncovered for 24 hours from Monday evening to Tuesday in Edinburgh. Sometimes brought to tears, about 33,000 people waited for hours to leave and gather briefly.

logistical challenge

Full hotels, disrupted traffic, overcrowded pubs… the British capital is feverishly preparing for the funeral of the century, in the presence of hundreds of leaders and royalty, an enormous security challenge.

To see the coffin, the government warned of “draconian restrictions” worthy of airports. The press speaks of around 750,000 people ready to endure a wait that could be counted in dozens of hours.

The exact snake route, published by the government, stretches along the south bank of the Thames for 15 kilometers to Southwark Park in the south-east of the capital.

First state funeral since 1965

In 2002, around 200,000 gathered in front of Queen Mother Elizabeth’s coffin, which was unveiled to the public three days before her funeral. The rush to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the first national funeral since 1965 – that of Winston Churchill, is likely to be even greater.

Some countries, notably Russia, Afghanistan, Syria or Burma, were not invited.

>> See also the BBC documentary on the coronation of Elizabeth II:

Elizabeth II History of a Coronation [RTS]

Elizabeth II Story of a Coronation / Living History / 51 min. / Sunday at 8:58 p.m

doe and vajo with agencies

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