From the second she inherited the crown, Queen Elizabeth II knew she was pre-destined to lie in state on the very same spot as her father, her grandfather and great-grandfather earlier than her. Such is the rhythm of royal life.
That future was fulfilled when her coffin, draped within the Royal Normal and with the glittering Imperial State Crown atop, was borne into the traditional splendor of Westminster Corridor; the place the place the palace meets parliament, and a monument to the lifetime of the nation because the eleventh century.
Right here she’s going to stay, beneath the medieval timbered Angel roof, and underneath the sightless gaze of the six stone kings, till her state funeral on Monday.
About 300 MPs and friends had quietly filed on to the worn steps inside the massive corridor, because the Queen departed Buckingham Palace for a closing time. These steps, the scene of historic addresses together with from Nelson Mandela and Pope Benedict XVI, have witnessed a lot. Immediately it was the handing over of the monarch by her household to the nation for her public farewell.
Her coffin, with its wreath of white roses, white dahlias and foliage together with pine from Balmoral and pittosporum, lavender and rosemary from the gardens at Windsor, had been borne from the palace on the George Gun Carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery for its 38-minute-long journey.
Behind the identical gun carriage that had borne her father and mom walked her 4 kids, led by the King in his Marshal of the Royal Air Pressure uniform. They walked solemnly consistent with the funeral navy tempo of 75 steps to the minute. In a logo of unity, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex, the previous in RAF No 1 uniform, the latter as a non-working royal in morning swimsuit and navy medals, walked aspect by aspect, as that they had memorably completed 25 years earlier behind the coffin of their mom.
Contained in the corridor the catafalque, draped in purple, stood prepared. Solely the faint sound of Massive Ben tolling at one-minute intervals, and the distant firing of minute weapons from Hyde Park, broke the overwhelming silence.
About 40 members of the Queen’s wider household stood in line on one aspect of the corridor: the Queen’s niece and nephew, her grandchildren, cousins and their kids. They have been joined by seven of her girls in ready, all in black attire, hats and pearls, and clutching purses, in a single final act of devoted attendance on their royal mistress.
The procession’s progress was marked because the drumbeat of the navy band and strains of Beethoven and Mendelssohn grew louder because it approached.
The Queen Consort, Princess of Wales, Countess of Wessex and Duchess of Sussex, who had all arrived by automotive, waited by the doorway because the gun carriage got here to a halt.
Charles and the senior royals saluted and the royal wives curtseyed because the coffin was carried by a bearer get together inside and gently positioned on the excessive catafalque, with the coronation orb and gold scepter subsequent to the Queen’s crown.
The royal household, led by the King and Queen Consort, then slowly lined up in entrance of the catafalque, which was flanked with a towering yellow candle at every nook of the broad scarlet platform.
In ceremonial uniforms of gold, crimson and blue braid, virtually as historic because the corridor itself, Black Rod, the Lord Nice Chamberlain, the Lords Chancellor and the Speaker proceeded by the corridor. The Processional Cross of Westminster, taken from Westminster Abbey, was carried by the Crucifer. It can stay on the head of the coffin all through the mendacity in state. A brief service was performed by the archbishop of Canterbury supported by the dean of Windsor.
A double faucet on the stone flooring from the stick of the Officer of the Watch signaled the beginning of the primary vigil. They may proceed across the clock all through the 4 days of the mendacity in state.
4 officers from the Family Cavalry, two from the Life Guards and two from the Blues and Royals had the distinction of the primary vigil. Resplendent in plumed helmet and gleaming cuirasse breastplates, they descended the stone steps in thigh excessive ceremonial boots and mounted the catafalque, one at every nook.
They turned slowly to face outwards from the coffin, then lowered their swords to the bottom. The 4 would stay immobile, heads bowed, arms folded on the hilt of their swords, by their 30-minute vigil. The Gents at Arms took up their place across the catafalque.
As they took up watch, the royals every bowed and curtseyed as they walked in entrance of the coffin earlier than continuing out in pairs. In contrast to the opposite senior royals, Harry and Meghan held arms as they walked out. They have been adopted by the MPs and friends who had been chosen to attend.
British monarchs since Edward VII have lain in state on this similar corridor, in addition to the Queen’s first prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill.
In life, she had sat inside its partitions on many events: to have fun milestones comparable to her silver, golden and diamond jubilees, to mark important moments such because the 50Th anniversary of the second world warfare, to obtain and make addresses, even to have fun the 300Th anniversaries of the revolutions of 1688 to 1689.
Now, in demise, and with this second, Britain’s longest reigning monarch additionally passes into its 900-year-long historical past.