SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 26 September 2022, Monday |

King Charles, William and Harry walk together behind queen’s coffin

While the late monarch made her final journey from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, King Charles, his sons Princes William and Harry and other senior royals joined a solemn procession taking Queen Elizabeth’s coffin.
Huge crowds gathered in central London to witness the queen being taken from the palace to parliament as artillery guns fired salutes and Big Ben tolled, the latest in a series of poignant ceremonies as the nation mourns the queen who died last week aged 96 after seven decades on the throne.
Lying on a gun carriage, covered by the Royal Standard flag and with the Imperial State Crown placed on a cushion on top alongside a wreath of flowers, the coffin bearing Elizabeth’s body was taken in a slow, somber procession from her London home to Westminster Hall. There it will lie in state for four days.
Walking directly behind were Charles and his siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
In a group that followed were Charles’s sons Princes William and Harry, a doleful scene reminiscent of when, as boys 25 years ago, they followed the casket of their mother Princess Diana when it was taken on a similar procession through central London.
It was also a symbolic show of unity as William, 40, now the Prince of Wales, and Harry, 37, the Duke of Sussex, are now said to be barely be on speaking terms after a bitter falling out in the last couple of years.
“It was very moving, seeing the family. It was a powerful show of unity,” said Jenny Frame, 54, who waited for more than four hours to see the procession. “I think it’s the very best of British and … very fitting for her.”
A military band playing funeral marches and soldiers in scarlet uniforms led the cortege, with the gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, as it moved slowly through central London, where many roads were closed to traffic.
Guns fired every minute at Hyde Park, while parliament’s famous Big Ben bell also rang at 60-second intervals. The crowds stood in a hushed silence as they watched the procession but then broke into spontaneous applause when it passed. Some threw flowers.
Other senior royals including Charles’ wife Camilla, now the Queen Consort, Kate, William’s wife and now Princess of Wales, and Harry’s wife, Meghan, traveled by car.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Elizabeth had three keys roles in her life: head of the family, head of the nation and head of state. Wednesday marked the moment the coffin passed from the family to the state.
“I don’t think we’ll see anything like that again ever, or a queen like that again,” said Paul Wiltshire, 65, among the crowd for the procession. “An end of an era.”
People started waiting in line late on Tuesday, sleeping on the street in the rain, to be one of the first to file past the coffin, and already a queue more than a mile long has sprung up.
“We didn’t even think about it,” said Glyn Norris, 63, adding a bit of rain would not deter her. “That was my queen.”
Among those gathered, some were there to represent elderly parents, others to witness history and many to thank a woman who, having ascended the throne in 1952, was still holding official government meetings just two days before she died.

    Source:
  • Arab News