Queen Elizabeth II: Coffin lowered into Royal Vault as UK and rest of world say ‘goodbye’ for final time
The royal family, including King Charles III, will have a chance to bid the Queen a final farewell at a private service in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle later on Monday evening.
Queen Elizabeth II will be buried alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, younger sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and her father, King George VI.
Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral: full and in-depth live coverage from Westminster Abbey
The Queen’s coffin has been lifted from the state hearse and carried into St George’s Chapel ahead of the committal service.
The procession was led into the chapel by members of the Queen’s royal household.
Once again the King followed behind the coffin, accompanied by the Queen Consort, with the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence behind, then the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The service has begun with the choir singing Psalm 121, set to music by Sir Henry Walford Davies, who previously served as an organist of the chapel.
Over a number of years, the Queen was involved in discussions about the order of service for her funeral, to approve the choice of prayers, hymns and other accompanying music.
Following the psalm, which includes the line “the Lord shall preserve thee from all evil”, the choristers move on to sing ‘The Russian Contakion of the Departed’, which was also performed at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April last year.
St George’s Chapel is already packed with mourners ahead of the committal service at 4pm.
The gothic chapel is filled with chatter as the organ plays quietly ahead of the arrival of the state hearse and royal family.
Daylight is streaming through the chapel’s West Door and many windows while bright lights rigged up along the sides of the chapel are also shining on the congregation and towards the aisle.
As the hearse approached Windsor, the Long Walk to the castle was lined with members of the armed forces on either side, stood in front of the public.
Last-minute travellers are continuing to pour out of Windsor and Eton Riverside Station to catch the final journey of the Queen’s coffin through the Berkshire town.
Hundreds of people were flooding out of the station at 2pm, joining the thousands already lining the streets.
Windsor Castle is under a flight path but all aircraft will be banned for the duration of the Queen’s arrival in the town and her subsequent burial in a private chapel in Windsor Castle.
Meanwhile, former US president Barack Obama has paid tribute to the Queen’s “kindness and consideration” as he recalled his meetings with the monarch.
In a video posted to Twitter, Mr Obama said the first time he met the Queen she reminded him of his grandmother, when she “could not have been more kind or thoughtful” to him and his wife, Michelle.
“Which surprised me not just in appearance but also in manner… (she was) very gracious but also no nonsense, (with a) wry sense of humour,” he said.
On another occasion Mr Obama described, his wife and two daughters were invited to tea at Buckingham Palace and later driven in the Queen’s golden carriage around the grounds – a moment that he said “left a mark in my daughters’ lives that’s still there”.
In another meeting, a state dinner in 2011 at Buckingham Palace, Mr Obama said the Queen was “dressed up quite a bit” which was concerning for Mrs Obama who had selected a “small, modest broach” of “nominal value” as a gift for the Queen.
However the following evening at a dinner at the US Embassy the Queen was wearing the then First Lady’s broach, in a moment Mr Obama said “was an example of the subtle thoughtfulness that she consistently displayed, not just to us but to everybody she interacted with”.
“The combination of a sense of duty and a clear understanding of her role as a symbol for her nation and as the carrier of a certain set of values, combined with a very human quality of kindness and consideration I think that’s what made her so beloved not just in Great Britain but around the world,” Mr Obama concluded.
The Queen’s coffin has been transferred to the State Hearse at Wellington Arch ahead of beginning its journey to Windsor for a committal ceremony later this afternoon.
Members of the royal family watched on as the bearer party lifted the coffin from the State Gun Carriage and loaded it into the back of the vehicle.
Much of the procession party lined up in formation on the green next to the monument and stood in silence during the moving of the coffin.
Thousands of people have lined South Carriage Drive to watch the hearse carrying the Queen’s coffin.
It is the first road the hearse will drive down on its way to Windsor following the funeral procession.
In some places the crowds were 30 people deep.
Mourners were seen waving flags and carrying flowers.
Minute Guns are being fired in Hyde Park by The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, as Big Ben tolls throughout the duration the procession.
Ex-Service Association standard bearers, mustered by the Royal British Legion, flanked the Cenotaph on Whitehall and saluted as the Queen’s coffin moved past.
Every head in the crowd turned as one, as the Queen’s coffin was carried through Whitehall and the historic surroundings, past the Cabinet War Rooms, past the Cenotaph and past Downing Street.
A sea of smartphones greeted the funeral procession as it arrived in Whitehall, with the crowd descending into silence as the coffin came past.
A member of the Gurkha regiment on Horse Guards Road appeared to be unwell during the Queen’s funeral ceremony.
The man collapsed and two soldiers brought over a stretcher, but he was able to continue after drinking a bottle of water.
The crowd cheered as he finished drinking and the stretcher was taken away.
Tears streamed down the faces of mourners among the crowds on Constitution Hill as the service drew to a close at Westminster Abbey.
Others began putting away iPads and tablets, which they streamed the service on and held up to allow those further back to watch, in anticipation for the passing of the cortege.
The street was lined with a half-company from the Royal Air Force (RAF) standing alongside police officers.
As the national anthem was sung after the service, the clouds parted and the sun shone through the trees in Green Park.
In Whitehall and Parliament Square, the funeral service moved some to tears.
As a crowd of thousands listened to the funeral, the proceedings from Westminster Abbey relayed by speakers above the street, some sang quietly along with the hymns.
As the funeral service began, the crowd around Parliament Square began to drift – some for a much-needed sit down, others to grab a quick sandwich or a bite to eat.
But slowly, many edged back towards Whitehall and to the best viewing points in Parliament Square to await the final procession of the Queen’s coffin through London and onwards to Windsor.
When the time came for the two-minute silence, not a sound could be heard the length of Whitehall as many in the crowd bowed their head or closed their eyes.
Even as the two-minutes elapsed, many remained hushed and quiet. It was not until the time came, a few moments later, to sing the national anthem that the crowd roused itself, applause breaking out across the length of Whitehall when it came to a close.
Reading the First Lesson, from Corinthians 15, Baroness Scotland told the congregation: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
The verses included the lines: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Prince George was seen singing The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended as he stood between his parents, the Prince and Princess of Wales.
The Prime Minister, Liz Truss, read the second lesson for mourners gathered in Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s funeral.
Taken from John 14, the lesson is one of comfort, evoking the promise of eternal life in Heaven.
In his sermon at the state funeral of the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury has told mourners the “grief” felt around the world over her death “arises from her abundant life and loving service”, adding: “She was joyful, present to so many, touching a multitude of lives.”
The Most Rev Justin Welby said: “People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are forgotten. The grief of this day – felt not only by the late Queen’s family but all round the nation, Commonwealth and world – arises from her abundant life and loving service, now gone from us.”
He added: “We will all face the merciful judgement of God: we can all share the Queen’s hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership. Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: ‘We will meet again.’”
Prince George and Princess Charlotte walked in between their parents behind the Queen’s coffin as part of a solemn procession through Westminster Abbey.
Ahead of the service, the Princess of Wales could be seen holding Charlotte’s hand, and giving her a reassuring touch on the shoulder.
As the young royals walked behind their great grandmother’s coffin, Charlotte held her hands clasped in front of her while George had his arms by his side.
The Dean of Windsor has given the bidding, ahead of the first hymn, ‘The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended’, written by John Ellerton, and which evokes the image of one day, one era, leading into another.
He told the congregation: “Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service, and in sure confidence to commit her to the mercy of God our maker and redeemer.”
The Bidding will be followed by Baroness Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, delivering the First Lesson in tribute to The Queen’s lifetime of dedication and service to the family of nations.
The Lesson is taken from Corinthians 15, and includes the line, ‘O death, where is thy sting?’.
The wreath which adorns the Queen’s coffin includes flowers requested by King Charles.
Cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House, the flowers and foliage have been chosen for their symbolism.
They include rosemary, for remembrance, and myrtle cut from a plant which was grown from a sprig of myrtle in the Queen’s wedding bouquet. Myrtle is an ancient symbol of a happy marriage.
Also included are English oak to symbolise the strength of love, pelargoniums, garden roses, autumnal hydrangea, sedum, dahlias and scabious.
These are in shades of gold, pink and deep burgundy, with touches of white, to reflect the Royal Standard.