LONDON (AP) — Britain and the world are laying Queen Elizabeth II to rest on Monday at a state funeral that will draw presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers — and up to a million people lining the streets of London to say a final goodbye to a monarch whose 70-year reign defined an age.
A day packed with funeral events in London and Windsor began early when the doors of 900-year-old Westminster Hall were closed to mourners after hundreds of thousands had filed in front of her coffin since Sept 14. Many of them had spent cold nights outdoors to pay their respects around the queen’s flag-draped coffin in a moving outpouring of national grief and respect. Later, a bell at Westminster Abbey began to toll, and it will ring once a minute for 96 minutes to honor each year of Elizabeth’s life.
The closing of the hall marked the end of more than four days of the coffin lying in state and the start of the U.K.’s first state funeral since the one held in 1965 for Winston Churchill, the first of 15 prime ministers during Elizabeth’s reign. Two days before her Sept. 8 death at her Balmoral summer retreat, the queen appointed her last prime minister, Liz Truss.
Police officers take positions ahead of the Queen Elizabeth II funeral in central London, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. The Queen, who died aged 96 on Sept. 8, will be buried at Windsor alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, Pool)ASSOCIATED PRESS
Among the last mourners to join the line to see the coffin was Tracy Dobson from Hertfordshire, just north of London.
“I felt like I had to come and pay my final respects to our majestic queen, she has done so much for us and just a little thank you really from the people,” she said.
Monday has been declared a public holiday in honor of Elizabeth, who died Sept. 8 at 96. Her funeral will be broadcast live to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide and screened to crowds in parks and public spaces across the U.K.
Police officers from around the country will be on duty as part of the biggest one-day policing operation in London’s history.
On the evening before the funeral, King Charles III issued a message of thanks to people in the U.K. and around the world, …read more