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Queen Elizabeth II buried at Windsor Castle chapel, says Palace

At 7:30 pm local time on Monday or past midnight, in the wee hours of Tuesday Indian time, Queen Elizabeth II's coffin, earlier lowered into the Royal Vault in St George’s Chapel, was to be reunited with her husband of 70 years, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Consort Philip’s coffin (still lying in the Royal Vault) and they both were to be moved and interred (buried) in the King George VI Memorial Chapel (of the Queen's father) in the same premises in a private service. Nothing is known about the event other than a Palace announcement that it has been done in an intimate ceremony. The Queen being head of state of a host of Commonwealth countries, those peoples had a right to know!

LONDON, Sept 19: With great pomp and circumstance, a funeral of several rounds of processions, extensive pageantry of the royalty and military, heads of state and governments and royalty from around the world in solemn attendance, and above all, the multitudes cramming the London streets and lining the long way up to Windsor to pay their last respects with flowers, the much revered people's monarch was accorded a tearfiul farewell in her last journey on Monday.

Seventy years on the throne, the longest-reigning and oldest living British monarch breathed her last "peacefully" on September 8 at the age of 96 at her own Balmoral Castle in Scotland she had been halting for the summer but had fallen sick.

More than 2,000 invitees attended the State funeral for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in London at 11 am on Monday. That included heads of state and government and royals and other dignitaries from across the world like US President Joe Biden and the emperor and empress of Japan.

One of the most watched events on television history, it was a huge gathering of world leaders never seen before as the Queen was also head of state of a host of Commonwealth countries and much respected worldwide.

Several millions of others around the world viewed broadcasts of the day's funeral proceedings that included the processions from Westminster Hall, where the coffin lay in state for four days and five nights, to nearby Westminster Abbey, the venue of the State funeral, then to Wellingdon Arch on way to Windsor Castle, and one at the Castle, as also a committal service at St. George's Chapel in the castle where the casket was lowered into a Royal Vault temporarily before the final burial after dusk at King George VI Memorial Chapel in the premises nearby.

At the State funeral the coffin was topped with the Royal Standard, the Imperial State Crown, the Sovereign's orb and sceptre and a wreath made up of flowers from royal gardens chosen by her son and new King Charles himself. Charles and his sons Prince William and Prince Harry and other royals followed the gun carriage in procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey nearby. Armed forces and other regiments and bands added pageantry to the procession to Abbey and further. Horses were also lined up the procession to Abbey.

At Westminster Abbey monarchs are crowned, married and funerals held. The Queen herself was also married to Prince Philip in 1947 and crowned in 1953 there.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle, with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivering the sermon. Prime Minister Liz Truss read a lesson, where former Prime Ministers were seated together. The hymn sung was "The Lord's my shepherd" which was also the one sung at her wedding.

Last Post - a short bugle call for funeral - was played followed by a two-minute national silence. The national anthem and a lament played by the Queen's piper brought to an end the State funeral service past midday.

The last State funeral at Abbey was of Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister.

The walking procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch began at noon. Big Ben tolled at one-minute intervals and gun salutes were fired every minute from Hyde Park as the procession moved. Armed services from the UK and the Commonwealth joined. Once again, the King and members of the royal family walked behind the gun carriage. At Wellington Arch, the coffin was then transferred to the State Hearse for the long drive to Windsor 33 km from Westminster.

Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers lined either side as the coffin was driven from London to Windsor Catle, the Queen's favourite abode since childhood.

The three processions

There were three processions for the funeral and as many funeral services. The first was a short one from Westminster Hall where the queen lay-in-state to Westminster Abbey in the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy driven by 142 naval personnel. This carriage had been used on previous funerals too like the funeral of the Queen's father, George VI, in 1952. The official State funeral service at Westminster Abbey was attended by 500 foreign dignitaries and a congregation of 2,000 other invitees and royals; then the procession was from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch in the same Gun Carriage; here the coffin was transferred to the State Hearse for the onward journey to Windsor Castle outside London. Along the long route either side crammed mourners waited long hours to say the final Goodbye to the Queen. The third procession was within the Castle premises, to St George's Chapel, along the Long Walk, followed by the royals on foot.

The Royal Vault and the final burial

The ceremony of funeral service in St George’s Chapel was held at 4 pm. There were 800 royals and other close ones. Here the crown, orb and the sceptre - sympols of power and monarchy - were removed from the coffin and placed at the altar. Lord Chamberline, the royal household officer, broke the Wand of Office and kept it on the coffin, ending his services.

At 4:30 pm the service closed with the national anthem sung by the congregation. "God Save the King" and a Lament, a musical expression of grief. The funeral service ended. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in his sermon spoke of the queen's "abundant life."

At the committal service, the Queen's coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, with the Dean of Windsor saying a Psalm and the Garter King of the Arms pronouncing the Queen's titles. 800 close people attended. The chapel service was not open to the public.

"Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul," Psalm 103 was read as the coffin was lowered.

A piper played a lament that melted away in the background when the coffin was being lowered into the Royal Vault of St George's chapel.

Television stopped here. They said the burial at King George VI Memorial Chapel at 7:30 pm will be a private moment for her royal family.

At 7:30 pm local time on Monday or past midnight, in the wee hours of Tuesday Indian time, the Queen Elizabeth II's coffin was to be reunited with her husband of 70 years, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Consort Philip’s coffin and they both were to be moved and interred (buried) in the King George VI Memorial Chapel (of the Queen's father) in a private service.

Prince Philip had been resting in the Royal Vault beneath the St George’s Chapel, where he was temporarily interred when he died last year.

The close royal family were to return to the chapel for the private burial service around 7:30 p.m. local time, it was stated but nothing more was known.

The Queen has been buried in the King George VI Memorial Chapel at St George's chapel, Windsor Castle, in an intimate ceremony, the Palace announced later.

King George VI Memorial Chapel

The Queen Elizabeth II's parents, father King George VI and mother who came to be known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (not Queen Elizabeth I) and the ashes of sister Princess Margaret (why she who died days before their mother in 2002 was cremated is not known) are interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in the premises of the main, medieval St George's Chapel in the sprawling grounds of the 1,000-room, 72-acre, fortified Windsor Castle some 33 km west of London and located south of Thames. The King George VI Memorial Chapel was commissioned by the Queen Elizabeth II for her father after his death and the coffin interred there thereafter. While a casket is awaiting final burial (internment) it remains in a Royal Vault.

(A chapel is a small place of worship which can be anywhere - like even residences - and without clergymen or priests while a church is a dedicated building with clergymen or priests managing the prayers. A large church can also accommodate one or more chapels. A cathedral is bigger than a church and is run by a bishop.)

The very ancient Windsor Castle, like the Buckingham Palace, belongs to the monarchy and its medieval St George's Chapel may be used for services like weddings and burials. While she owned properties like Balmoral in Scotland where she breathed her last.

The Windsor Castle had been the Queen's preferred private residence since she took refuge there during the World War when she was a child. During the thousand years of its existence it was occupied by monarchs uninterruptedly.

Quotes:

  • The Queen's life was marked by a stoic endurance at times. Especially 1992 was a year turned out to be an "annus horribilis" - Queen quoted a correspondent. She used this expression in a speech in 1992 to describe that year, when there was a serious fire at Windsor Castle, the Princess Royal got divorced, the Duke of York separated from his wife and the Prince of Wales had marriage problems.
  • A monarch who genuinely cared about everyone! - A commoner
  • "She fell in love at age 18 and she never looked at anyone else," - Sally Bedell Smith, Queen's biographer.
  • Spider spotted on coffin, a good omen - An unknown commentator
  • Once a stranger ('stoaway') was found in her bedroom. Displaying presence of mind, she engaged him in a conversation till security arrived.

Biographical note:-

  • Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21 April 1926 in London
  • Full name: Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor
  • Parents: Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (died in 2020, a few days after Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth II's only sister) & George VI (died in 1952)
  • The Queen married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Consort, in 1947; He died in 2021
  • Elizabeth II was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from February 6, 1952 until her death in 2022.
  • King Charles III, Anne the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew the Duke of York, and Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex are the Queen's children
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