30 May 2024

Royal family deliver Queen to nation ahead of lying in state

The Queen was handed to the care of the nation for a period of lying in state after her family marched in homage behind her coffin as it was carried to Westminster Hall.

A gun carriage that had borne the coffins of her mother and father carried the late monarch to Westminster Hall – a procession through the heart of the capital watched by tens of thousands who lined the route.

In bright summer sunshine, funeral marches played by military bands added to the solemn mood that left some mourners weeping, while others held up their camera phones to record the historic moment.

King Charles III led the royal family as they walked behind the coffin, draped with a Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown, and pulled on a gun carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

Thousands of mourners flocked to see the moving sight of the Queen departing the official residence where she spent so much of her working life at the heart of the nation, with viewing areas declared full ahead of the procession starting.

The new monarch walked in line with the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex.

Behind the King were the Queen’s grandsons in a line – Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales – who were followed by the late monarch’s son-in-law Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of Gloucester, the Queen’s cousin, and her nephew the Earl of Snowdown.

Royal family members saluted as they made their way past the Cenotaph while Harry bowed his head.

The Duke of York turned his eyes to the right to look upon the Cenotaph as the procession made its way past.

The Queen had arrived at her former home on Tuesday evening in gloom and rain but for her departure from the palace in bright sunshine.

Shortly after the arrival of the coffin at Westminster Hall, US President Joe Biden said he had spoken to the King on Wednesday to offer his condolences on the death of his mother.