Queen Elizabeth II passed away at Balmoral Castle on September 8th, 2022. After 11 days, a funeral was held at Windsor Castle, where her family came together to create memories that would last a lifetime...
Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was moved from Westminster Abbey to the Wellington Arch by the Royal Navy’s State Gun Carriage. Following close behind her was every person from her family, including her two grandsons.
The Prince of Wales, William, and Harry, Duke of Sussex, stood shoulder to shoulder as they honored their late grandma. The eldest wore a Royal Air Force No. 1 uniform, a Garter Sash with RAF Pilot Wings, and the Garter Star Chest Order. But Harry was prohibited from wearing his uniform since he stepped away from his royal duties.
4,000 Military Personnel
It was mandatory that the Queen get the largest military personnel around her during this day. Therefore, there was 4,000 military personnel at Her Majesty’s funeral. Despite this high number, only half of them were given the task of walking the procession route.
And the other 2,000 military servicemen were allocated to guards of honor and also the job of leading the route. Before she passed away, for 70 years during her reign, Queen Elizabeth was the commander-in-chief and the head of the military. So the 4,000 personnel were more than just the security.
Royal Navy's Respect
The whole world felt the pain when Queen Elizabeth passed away. Especially those who were members of the military. In the below picture, we can see a Royal Navy member pay his respect by bowing down his head. One picture says a million words - or feelings.
It was a heart-wrenching and emotional day. The Royal Navy carried Her Majesty in their State Gun Carriage. And since the carriage hadn’t been used since 1979 for Lord Mountbatten’s funeral and before that in 1952 for King George VI, it was clearly a sentimental moment for all.
The Queen’s Soldiers
There might have been thousands of military personnel, and every member of the Queen’s family at her funeral, but only a few special ones got the chance to carry the late ruler. A couple of the guards were given the job of lifting Queen Elizabeth II out of her carriage and into Westminster Abbey.
These favored guards were picked from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. These men were ranked in the most senior infantry regiments in the British Army, so clearly, they were fit for the job. The official Army website explained, "12 very best soldiers will have been selected to provide the bearer party at Her Majesty's funeral."
Protecting the Monarch
The oldest serving and the most common regiment in the British Army are known as the Coldstream Guards. Their main duty is to protect the monarch, meaning they are at basically every royal ceremony. So, of course, they were there to honor the Queen who served the longest reign in history.
These tough men will go to great lengths to ensure the Royal family is safe and protected - after all, that is their main job. The Coldstream Guards are often standing outside of Buckingham Palace and other Royal homes to keep civilians out. We can see why they are known to be such a recognized army service.
After spending more than 70 years as the ruler of the British monarch, it comes as no surprise she accumulated many heartfelt decorations at her funeral. But probably the most eye-catching decor that day was the freshly picked flowers from Her Majesty’s garden.
The florets were comprised of rosemary, English oak, pelargoniums, and garden roses that embodied remembrance, strength, positive feelings, and love for the Queen. Adjoining the fresh flowers were the Sovereign’s Orb and the Sovereign’s Sceptre. Altogether they were placed on top of the coffin lying over the Royal Standard Flag.
People all over the world tuned in to watch the Royal funeral, but what those at home couldn't have seen is that the procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch was more than a mile long! It wasn't just the military personnel who went down the walk, but also the Queen's kids and grandkids.
Prince William and Prince Harry were in attendance alongside their father, the new King of the United Kingdom, Charles III. The whole family, including Harry and William's wives and their kids, were all there helping each other throughout the very difficult time.
Emotional Family Reunion
The funeral was filled with many photographers capturing every heart-wrenching and emotional moment shared between the Royal family members. And while Queen Elizabeth’s son and grandsons were the center of attention, their wives (some even holding the title of Princess) were included in those moments.
The Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, and her kids, Princess Charlotte and Prince George of Wales, were all there. Right next to them was standing the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, Queen Consort, Camilla, and Kate, Princess of Wales. All of their heartache could be felt through the camera.
Following Her Majesty’s sudden passing, news channels all over the world started rolling out different headlines. But one moment from the funeral stood out more than others. Prince George was seen rubbing his eyes, and as more pictures were released, a heartwarming moment was suddenly captured.
Viewers everywhere saw that his mother, the Princess of Wales, turned her attention to her crying child. Not long after the photo of Prince George was taken, Kate was pictured laying her hand on her son’s knee. She was clearly trying to comfort him from the pain of losing his great-grandmother.
Meghan’s Touching Tribute
Dressed in a full black outfit fitted for the somber occasion, Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, was spotted looking empathetic at the funeral. But the clothes weren’t the only thing set to honor the Queen’s passing, Meghan’s accessories also held attachments to Her Majesty.
Back in 2021, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, The Duchess of Sussex revealed that her grandmother-in-law had given her a set of pearl earrings and a matching necklace. Queen Elizabeth II gave Meghan this jewelry set when she became a member of the Royal family. So of course, she wore them to honor the late monarch.
Escorting Her Majesty
Following the ceremony that took place at Westminster Abbey, Her Majesty’s coffin was walked through a very specific route. She was held up by numerous guards that came from different army groups that spent years protecting the Royal kingdom.
Bordering the late monarch’s coffin were the Grenadier Guards, the King’s Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, the Yeomen of the Guards, and the Royal Company of Archers. Altogether there were 142 sailors from the Royal Navy. They all carried her coffin throughout the city of London.
The State Gun Carriage might have been the main vehicle at the funeral, but it wasn’t the only one that proceeded with the late monarch and the soldiers. There was a total of three other royal automobiles on the London route following Queen Elizabeth through the procession.
Camilla, Queen Consort, and Catherine, the Princess of Wales, sat in one car with their kids. Following them were the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and Countess of Wessex and Forfar. And finally, the last car behind on its way to Windsor Castle held Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, grandkids of Queens Elizabeth II.
The snap below showcases just how many security guard members were there walking throughout the route in London. The moment also shows the army personnel that marched at the Queen’s funeral. That is why there are so many different uniforms, each one exhibiting the different duties they took on in their services.
We can see how different all the outfits are - from the Royal Company of Archers, the Yeoman of the Guard, the Gentlemen at Arms, and also the Pipes & Drums of the Scottish and Irish regiments. Based on the official Royal website, the Yeomen of the Guard are known for their cross belts that are worn from the left shoulder.
There are many heirs to the Royal throne, and some of them are still under the age of 10! Take Prince William and Kate Middleton's kids, for example: Prince George, who is 9 years old, and Princess Charlotte, who is 7, are the youngest heirs to observe the Queen's coffin.
The eldest sibling, George, sported a dark navy suit, while his little sister wore a buttoned-down black dress. The royal children were dressed for the occasion in dark colors. From a young age, they must follow the royal rules, especially since they are second and third in line for the throne.
Prince William's Outfit
Prince Harry might have been banned from getting to wear his army uniform, but his brother, on the other hand, Prince William, got to sport special attire. The Prince of Wales had on the RAF No. 1 uniform since he spent 7 years serving in the air force, in which he also received ornaments to place on the outfit.
Pinned on the left side is the Order of the Garter chest star and the Garter Sash with RAF Pilot Wings. To further honor his RAF service, the uniform has medals of conduct, including the Gold, Diamond, and Platinum Jubilee medals for finishing his duty as a helicopter pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue force.
A Closer Look Inside
For thousands of years, numerous special events have been held at Westminster Abbey, as it is considered a World Heritage Site. So naturally, a major occasion like the Queen's funeral was held at this beloved venue to commemorate her historic reign.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. David Hoyle MBE, led and also directed the somber ceremony. One special thing they did to honor the Queen was ring the tenor ball for 96 minutes every 60 seconds before the funeral began. It was done to honor Her Majesty’s 96 years of life.
King Charles III
To commence the funeral, the Dean of Windsor read out loud a series of psalms. And afterward, they started to lower Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin into the Royal Vault. But before that happened, her son, King Charles III, had a special task he needed to complete to pay his respect to his late mother’s 70-year reign.
He walked up to the coffin and lay on top of it Her Majesty's company camp color of the Grenadier Guards flag. Afterward, Lord Chamberlain Baron Parker took apart his wand of the office into two pieces and laid it on the coffin as well. These two gestures were meant to symbolize the end of the guard's service to the Queen.
A Somber Meghan
The Royal family came together to say their final goodbye’s to the Queen, and many of these moments were caught on camera. They were all very emotional since they had all just lost a cherished member of their family. But out of the hundreds of photos, one stood out to fans.
Since stepping away from their royal duties, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle no longer attend many of these events. But they, of course, were at Her Majesty’s funeral. So when Meghan was watching Harry follow his grandma’s casket, a tear fell down her face right as the photographers snapped her pictures.
Anne’s Unique Uniform
Queen Elizabeth welcomed only one daughter during her life. Anne, Princess Royal, is the 16th in line for the throne. So every time she is seen at one of the Royal ceremonies, she can be seen wearing her military dress. But for this sad occasion of saying goodbye to her mom, she wore the Royal Navy full uniform.
Her unusual uniform categorically symbolizes the branch of armed force that carried the Queen’s coffin. Because Anne, Princess Royal is the General for the British Army and also the Air Chief Marshal for the Royal Air Force, she is always spotted in a military uniform.
A Historical Part of the Monarch
It was back in 1661 when the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre were created, but it took many years till they became a part of the monarch. It wasn’t until Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen in 1953 that it was initialized. Ever since, these 2 ornaments have been at the center of the decor at all coronations.
The sceptre was created to symbolize the represent power the Royal family has, and the orb was officialized as being the representation of the power of the crown. These two very historical pieces have high sentimental value, so they will most likely be passed down for King Charles III during his coronation next year.
King Charles III’s Outfit
Anne, Princess Royal, can be seen in the below picture looking over at her grieving brother, King Charles III. He, too, attended the funeral in a uniform like some of his other family members. The son of the Queen served 6 years in the military as a flyer for the Royal Navy. His attire exhibits what duties he served in the army.
Charles had numerous uniforms to pick from, but we can see that he picked the Royal Navy No. 1 tailcoat uniform. Probably because not only does it feature a personal sword, but also the collar of the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle Sash, the Order of Merit, the Garter Star, and the Thistle Star.
Over 4 billion viewers tuned into the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, based on reports by Euro News. And in real life, there were also jaw-dropping sums of people that came to witness the historic event. Thousands of British citizens traveled a long way just to get a clear view of the ceremony.
Citizens from all over got to stand at the Mall to witness the funeral procession for the longest-reigning monarch they had ever had. Some individuals went as far as sleeping there to get space, even though it only opened for the public at 9:00 a.m. Nearly 1 million grieving people came together to say goodbye to their Queen.
Prince Harry “Breaking” Tradition
Because he no longer participates in his royal duties, Prince Harry wasn’t given permission to wear his custom military attire to the funeral. The Duke of Sussex instead chose to wear a black jacket and grey pinstriped trousers. Yet still, even in the past, Harry didn’t always follow the very strict royal rules.
Although Prince Harry no longer had his military titles, his dad made one exception. King Charles III gave him permission on September 17th to wear his military uniform while walking behind the Queen’s coffin. He probably did this since, traditionally, members of the family who served have to wear the attire at civil events.
Emotions Were High
Since they have basically been Royals all of their lives, these family members are used to keeping a poker face while thousands of people and cameras have eyes on them. But since this was a sad ceremony, it’s clear that it was harder than usual to hide their heightened emotions, saying goodbye to their dear Queen.
For the entire British nation (and the world), it was a difficult and sad day. The funeral was a time for the family closest to Her Majesty to mourn their loss. So understandably so, Prince Harry was seen holding back his tears. Yet still, he was able to keep it to a minimum as he held a respectable reaction despite his sadness.
Ever since she was a young girl, Queen Elizabeth II always adored the dog breed Corgis. During her 70-year reign, she became proud as the owner of no less than 30 Corgis. During the time of her death, she had two Pembroke welsh corgis, Muick and Sandy, who were in attendance to say goodbye to the Queen.
Alongside two guards (one for each dog), the corgis waited at Windsor Castle to go to the event. They watched the ceremony from the quadrangle. One of them could be seen lying down, looking upset, while the other watched ahead. Muick and Sandy have now become Prince Andrew and his former wife Sarah Ferguson's dogs.
Specific Areas to Mourn
During her time as the Queen, she spends a lot of time walking through Buckingham Palace to tend to her beautiful gardens. Her Majesty was a big fan of flowers, so when it was time for her funeral, there were specific areas given to the public to be able to lay flowers as a tribute to the late monarch.
Right next to Buckingham Palace at Hyde Park in London, hundreds of flowers were placed. The public was also given permission to lay the blossoms at Green Park. They were left there for a week after the funeral, but eventually, the London Royal Parks charity revealed they would take them to recycle for other plant projects.
Meghan & Harry’s Goodbye
Those closest to the Queen and the rest of the attendees at the funeral inside Westminster Abbey came together for four and a half hours. After the final goodbyes were over, the Royal family left the event in pairs. So Kate Middleton and Prince William walked together, and Prince Harry and his wife Meghan walked together.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry traveled from the United States to go to the funeral since that is where they moved to with their kids after giving up their royal duties. And when they left, Meghan didn’t let go of Harry’s hand. Despite them leaving their Royal duties, the duo shared this special moment together with their family.
As we know by now, there were numerous cars that drove behind the State Gun Carriage as they went down to Westminster Abbey. Meghan Markle was seated with the Countless of Wessex, Sophie. And Kate Middleton drove with her 3 kids. But when they all walked out of the vehicles, the two Royal wives stood side by side.
Meghan and Kate were captured on camera standing together, and right in front of them were Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Believe it or not, it was the first time that these kids were photographed with their aunt Meghan. This is because Meghan and Harry moved to the U.S. after leaving their Royal duties.
King Charles III’s Tribute
The Sovereign’s Orb and the Sovereign’s Sceptre were placed on top of Her Majesty’s coffin. The special ornaments symbolized Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign and also represented what she did as a leader of Britain. But what might not be known is that there was also a letter left ontop of the flowers.
King Charles III left a note for his late mother. “In Loving and devoted memory, Charles R,” it said. We can’t imagine the type of grief he must have felt for his mom and how hard it must have been to write such an emotional letter for her. Yet still, the farewell was visible for the public to read, alongside the custom flowers.
Continuing a Legacy
It was a devastating day on September 19th, 2022, for the British people - mainly for those who were closest to her. It was a very historical day that will be remembered for years to come. Thousands of special moments throughout the funeral were caught on camera, but one special photo stood out.
Prince Harry, Princess Anne, and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence were photographed at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, England. The three were walking around with small grins to try and raise their spirits. It was an emotional day as the Royal family reunited from all over, but the Queen’s legacy will be remembered forever.