The United Kingdom will put an end this Monday, declared a national holiday, to eleven days of mourning that have shocked the country. All the rituals experienced during this time, from the solemn announcement of the death of Isabel II, on September 8, to the formal proclamation of the new king, Carlos III, through the hundreds of thousands of citizens who have waited for ten, twelve , fourteen and even twenty hours, to be able to parade through the funeral chapel and say goodbye to the monarch, have served to put an end, with the pomp and circumstance that only the United Kingdom is capable of displaying, to the “Elizabethan era”. And, somehow, to the British history of the 20th century. The state funeral that will be held from eleven o’clock (noon in Spanish peninsular time) will bring together the largest number of heads and former heads of state, along with international dignitaries and representatives of many nations, so far in the 21st century. The president of the United States, Joe Biden; that of France, Emmanuel Macron; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; that of New Zealand, Jacinta Arden, or the kings of Spain, Felipe VI and Letizia, who have coincided in the event with the emeritus Juan Carlos I and Sofía.
The figure of Elizabeth II, and the respect that most countries had for her, has forced the London Metropolitan Police to launch an unprecedented logistics operation. Almost half a thousand leaders and former world leaders on a state visit, along with more than a million citizens who have come to the British capital these days. 20,000 agents have been deployed throughout the city, along with more than 2,000 soldiers. Health care services, mobile toilets, food and drink stations, and thousands of volunteers have joined an effort that has generally worked flawlessly.
At 11:35 a.m. this Monday (12:35 p.m. in mainland Spain), the coffin of Elizabeth II will travel the short space that separates the majestic hall where the burning chapel, Westminster Hall, has been located these days from Westminster Abbey, where it will be held the state funeral. Nearly 2,000 guests from all over the world attend the funeral of Elizabeth II. Behind the coffin, on a military armor dragged by 142 members of the Royal Navy, will walk the new monarch, Carlos III, and other members of the British royal family.
Two minutes before the end of the funeral, at 11.58 local time, a solemn silence will be observed in the abbey, and throughout the United Kingdom, in honor of the deceased queen. There will be one last funeral procession through the streets of London. The coffin will parade, before the eyes of tens of thousands of Britons concentrated on the edge of the route, from Westminster to Wellington’s Arch. They will continue their journey, on foot, Carlos III and his children, princes Guillermo and Enrique. Pipers and drummers from the Irish and Scottish regiments will lead the procession. Upon arrival at the Arch, the coffin will be transferred to a hearse, which will take it to Windsor Castle, the residence where Elizabeth II spent, first with her husband Philip of Edinburgh, then alone, the long months of the pandemic. . And where she also lived, as a child, to escape the bombing that devastated London during the Second World War.
There will be a last funeral procession, about five kilometers. The distance that separates the castle from the chapel where the queen will be buried. The so-called “long walk” (the long walk). Access to citizens will be allowed throughout the entire route.
In the Chapel of San Jorge, where the remains of the prince consort already rest, the final religious service will be held to bid farewell to Isabel II, before her son, Carlos III, participates together with his brothers and other members of the royal family in a private act. It will be the new king who spreads a handful of earth on her mother’s coffin before it is buried next to her husband’s.
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This Monday has been declared a national holiday across the UK. The new monarch thanked the citizens, in a message late on Sunday, for all the signs of affection offered during the 11 days of mourning. London has received more than a million visitors, and the surroundings of Buckingham Palace and Westminster Hall have been a logistical challenge for the police and the organization’s volunteers. But there have been few incidents or altercations of a few days in which the British and tourists have displayed an enormous exercise of respect for the memory of the monarch.
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