On the eve of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and as the national mourning comes to an end, the British were invited to observe a minute of silence this Sunday evening, whether at home, on their doorsteps or in their street, or at community events and vigils. At the same time, the public still continued to queue to gather in front of the queen’s coffin.
Since Wednesday, tens or even hundreds of thousands of people have lined up, up to more than 24 hours, night and day, at Westminster Hall to pay tribute to the sovereign, who died at the age of 96 on September 8. The latter have until Monday, 6:30 a.m. local time, to gather in front of the remains of the monarch.
Foreign leaders received at Buckingham Palace
Throughout the weekend, several Heads of State and Government joined this tribute, starting with American President Joe Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill, who on Sunday afternoon made the sign of the cross in front of the coffin of the late sovereign. French President Emmanuel Macron came on Sunday evening with his wife Brigitte.
The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen or the King of Spain, Felipe VI, also bowed before the remains of the Queen, as well as the Ukrainian first lady, Olena Zelenska, visibly very moved. In the early evening, foreign leaders were received at Buckingham Palace for King Charles III’s first major diplomatic meeting.
For these state funerals, Monday will be a public holiday in the United Kingdom, a first since those of Winston Churchill in 1965. Some 2,000 guests, including heads of state and government from around the world, will meet at the abbey of Westminster, where Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953, for the culmination of tributes paid in immense emotion since the death of the monarch to planetary popularity.
The funeral will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle. The sermon will be delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Church of which the British sovereign is the formal head. An hour later, the ceremony will end with the national anthem.