LONDON: Queen Elizabeth’s closest relatives were ashen-faced as they followed her coffin to Westminster Abbey for her funeral on Monday, in a meticulously choreographed procession that nevertheless betrayed the high emotions of the day.
Elizabeth’s son King Charles and his three younger siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward, made up the first line behind the gun carriage pulled by 142 Royal Navy sailors that bore the queen’s coffin from nearby Westminster Hall to the abbey.
Behind them came Charles’s sons, Princes William and Harry, and other senior members of the royal family, their grave faces showing the emotional impact of the solemn moment.
Charles and William had travelled to the hall together in a royal car, cheered and applauded by crowds of mourners who lined the streets of central London to witness a day of sombre ceremony.
But from the moment the queen’s coffin began to emerge, carried by pall bearers, everyone fell silent and the royals marched to the sound of bagpipes and the tolling of a bell.
Charles, Anne, Edward and William, all dressed in ceremonial military uniform, saluted as the coffin was lifted off the gun carriage in front of the abbey.
Andrew and Harry, who are no longer working royals, were in morning suits and did not salute, even though both had served in conflict in the past, in the Falklands and in Afghanistan.
After 11 days of momentous change and activity since his mother died, Charles looked distraught and exhausted as the pall bearers carried the coffin into the abbey through the Great West Door for the funeral service.
Waiting just inside were his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, as well as William’s wife Kate and their children George, 9, and Charlotte, 7, and Harry’s wife Meghan.
The royals followed the coffin up the aisle, with close-up television shots showing the grief on their faces.
William and Kate had their children between them as they walked, and could be seen touching their shoulders to support them. Later during the service, Charlotte could be seen swinging her legs as her feet could not reach the floor.