United Kingdom buries Queen Elizabeth II after state funeral

Monday, September 26, 2022

Elizabeth II's casket in the funeral procession
Image: James Boyes.

On Monday, September 19, Elizabeth II, the late Queen of the United Kingdom and the fourteen Commonwealth realms received a state funeral at Westminster Abbey, London, England before she was buried at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

The royal state funeral at Westminster Abbey was attended by some two thousand people including hundreds of national leaders, heads of state and foreign royalty. "Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen," said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Outside hundreds of thousands of people had gathered in the streets of London to pay their respects to Elizabeth and witness the procession.

After the funeral service, Elizabeth was transported to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle where she was lowered into the Royal Vault, the final resting place of many former British monarchs. Here, the Royal Regalia was removed from the coffin.

In the evening, Elizabeth was moved to King George VI Memorial Chapel which is a separate part of St George's. A private family service was held and she was buried next to her husband, father, mother and sister.

Queen Elizabeth II in 2021
Image: The White House.

Elizabeth died Thursday, September 8 at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, Scotland after a reign of 70 years. The news was announced at 18:30 BST (UTC+1) by a formal notice outside Buckingham Palace. Earlier that day various members of the British royal family had traveled to Balmoral to be by the side of the Queen as doctors said they became concerned for the 96-year-old monarch's health. Elizabeth's husband and Prince Consort, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died in 2021 at the age of 99.

Elizabeth's eldest son, Charles the former Prince of Wales, automatically became King on her death and will be known as King Charles III. His eldest son, William, inherited the Duchy of Cornwall from his father, whilst retaining his title of Duke of Cambridge. Charles was officially proclaimed as King last Saturday by the Accession Council in a televised ceremony at St James's Palace in London. All living former prime ministers were in attendance.

"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother," said Charles in a statement. "I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."

Just two days prior, Elizabeth II was still performing her duties as head-of-state as she approved Liz Truss as the new prime minister, succeeding Boris Johnson who tendered his resignation in person to the Queen on the same day.

Truss called Elizabeth "the rock on which modern Britain was built" and "provided us with the stability and strength that we needed". She declared Britain to be "devastated" by her death. About the new monarch, Charles, Truss said, "We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long. And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying the words 'God save the King'."

The then Princess Elizabeth in ATS uniform, 1945
Image: MOI.

Born in London on April 21, 1926 as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, she was not in the immediate line of succession to the throne. King Edward VIII, however, abdicated in 1936 to Elizabeth's father, King George VI and Elizabeth became heir apparent.

During World War II, Elizabeth began making public statements at the age of 14 with the first being a message to children who had been evacuated. After reaching the age of 18, she served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a truck driver.

In 1947, she married Philip with whom she had four children: Charles (1948), Anne (1950), Andrew (1960) and Edward (1964).

Elizabeth's reign was the longest in the history of Britain and the second-longest sovereign monarch of all recorded history. She presided over fifteen different prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill.