On September 8th, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at Balmoral Castle. Her Majesty was laid to rest 11 days later at Windsor Castle. The remainder of the Royal family gathered, and memorable photos were captured...
The Queen's coffin was carried from Westminster Abbey to the Wellington Arch by the Royal Navy's State Gun Carriage. Family members walked behind her Majesty in her honor - but her grandsons appeared differently.
William, the Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, stood side-by-side as they followed the procession. William wore the Royal Air Force No. 1 uniform; a Garter Sash with RAF Pilot Wings and the Garter Star Chest Order. However, as Prince Harry stripped himself from royal duties, he was prohibited from wearing the same.
Military of 4,000
For Her Majesty, it was mandatory to have the largest military personnel surrounding her. During the funeral, there was 4,000 military personnel walking through Windsor Castle. However, at least only 2,000 were assigned to the procession route.
While half were used in the procession, the other half were assigned to guards of honor as well as leading the route. Aside from standard security procedures, the Queen served as the commander-in-chief and head of the military throughout her entire 70-year reign. Hence, the military was there for more than just security purposes.
Respect From the Royal Navy
While the late monarch served many duties for the military, it was those members who felt a heart-wrenching loss when she passed. As captured below, we see a member of the Royal Navy with his head bowed down as he pays his respects. But this photo has more value than what meets the eye.
The Royal Navy admired how Queen Elizabeth II was carried in their very own State Gun Carriage. While this was done as a moment of appreciation and devotion, it had even more sentimental value. The carriage was last used in 1979 for Lord Mountbatten's funeral and before in 1952 for King George VI.
The Queen's Company
When the Queen's coffin was lifted out of the carriage, only very few guards had the pleasure of carrying Her Majesty into Westminster Abbey. Although all soldiers in the army earned their right of passage to walk with the late monarch to her funeral, only a few had the honor of carrying her.
These guards were chosen from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. These army members are fast and the most senior infantry regiments in the British Army. According to the official Army website, only "12 very best soldiers will have been selected to provide the bearer party at Her Majesty's funeral." They completed the task perfectly.
The Coldstream Guards
The Coldstream Guards solely protect the monarch. They are the oldest serving - and most regular - regiment in the British Army and have been the most attending collective to attend every royal ceremony. So, it was only more than likely the group were to attend the end of the longest reign in history.
The Coldstream Guards have taken on many advantageous roles in the past, but are predominantly well-known for the lengths they go to protect the Royal family. This usually consists of surrounding Buckingham Palace and other prestige homes. This justifies why they are the most distinguishable army service in the world.
Freshly Picked Flowers
The flowers shown below were placed on top of the Queen's coffin. While there were other sentimental decorations placed around the coffin and her home, these flowers were the most dominant. Not only were the flowers freshly picked from her beloved garden, but they represented other major factors.
Surrounding the flowers were the Sovereign's Orb and the Sovereign's Sceptre, placed on top of the coffin and lying over the Royal Standard Flag. Nevertheless, the flowers consisting of rosemary, English oak, pelargoniums, and garden roses symbolized remembrance, strength, positive emotions, and love.
A King in Mourning
While members of the global nation tuned in to watch the Queen's funeral, they might not have realized the procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch was over a mile. Aside from military members, members of the Royal family also embarked on the route behind their late mother and grandmother.
Particular members who embarked on the route with the soldiers were Prince William and Prince Harry, and their father, the new King of the United Kingdom, Charles III. As he watched his mother be put to rest, with the support of the entire British nation, he was supported by William and Harry's wives and his grandchildren.
Emotional Family Portrait
It was expected that the nation would see photos captured of the Queen's closest family members - that being her son, King Charles III, Prince William, and Prince Harry. Nevertheless, the wives of the family, some holding the title of Princess, were also caught in an emotional timelapse.
Other family members were seen at the funeral. The Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, and her children, Princess Charlotte and Prince George of Wales, attended. Beside them were the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, Queen Consort, Camilla, and Kate, Princess of Wales. The caught-off-guard image captured their raw emotions.
Kate Comforts George
While the media created many headlines after the Queen's funeral, one moment, in particular, caught the attention of the public. A heartwarming moment was captured when Prince George started to rub his eyes. As this circulated and more news appeared, it became apparent what had happened.
It was a moment where the Princess of Wales prioritized her maternal duties. Shortly after Prince George was seen crying, Kate was photographed resting her hand against her son's knee. This was clearly a moment of comfort between them as they said goodbye to his great-grandmother.
Meghan's Moving Tribute
Meghan Markle, wife of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, was photographed looking empathetic in black. Like all the other Royal family members, they dressed appropriately for the occasion. However, Meghan was seen wearing accessories that had a deep connection to the Queen.
In 2021, The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey she was gifted a set of pearl earrings with a matching necklace from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was given these as a token of her being a devoted member of the Royal family. Meghan wore these jewelry pieces to the funeral out of respect for the late monarch.
Escorting The Queen
As established, Queen Elizabeth II's coffin was carried through a directed route. After the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the late monarch was carried by a large crowd of guards from different army groups that served to protect the entire kingdom.
Surrounding her Majesty was the Grenadier Guards, the King's Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, the Yeomen of the Guard, and the Royal Company of Archers. Collectively, she was guarded by a total of 142 sailors from the Royal Navy. They carried the coffin placed on the State Gun Carriage through London.
The State Gun Carriage was not the only vehicle to move with the Queen and the Royal Navy soldiers through London. The Queen's vehicle was not the only car that was protected on the London route. In fact, three other royal cars were following the Queen throughout the procession.
One car seated Camilla, Queen Consort, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, along with two of her children. Behind them were the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and Countess of Wessex and Forfar. Lastly, the final car to follow the Queen to Windsor Castle was for Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, granddaughters of Queen Elizabeth II.
The image below is a snippet of how many guards were following each other throughout the London route. This includes the group of army soldiers who marched through the Mall following the funeral ceremony. As shown, there is a hybridity of uniforms, displaying different forms of duties within their services.
The uniforms of the Royal Company of Archers, the Yeomen of the Guard, the Gentlemen at Arms, as well as the Pipes & Drums of the Scottish and Irish regiments all differ. For example, according to the official Royal website, the Yeomen of the Guard are recognized by their cross belts which are worn from the left shoulder.
The Youngest Heirs
The young heirs to the throne are Prince George, age nine, and his younger sister, Princess Charlotte, age seven. They are the children of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, and have marked the moment to be the youngest heirs to observe the Queen's coffin.
As Royal tradition follows, the two young heirs dressed accordingly in dark colors. Princess Charlotte wore a buttoned-down black dress, while Prince George wore a dark navy suit. Though they are young, considering they are second and third in line for the throne, they must follow the rules from the beginning.
Prince William's Special Attire
Unlike Prince Harry, who was not allowed to wear his army uniform, William, Prince of Wales, dressed accordingly to his royal duties. He wore his RAF No. 1 uniform to the Queen's funeral. After serving in the air force for seven years, Prince William earned the decorative ornaments on his uniform.
The Garter Sash with RAF Pilot Wings is accompanied by the Order of the Garter chest star, pinned on the left. His uniform also includes medals of conduct that prove his army performance. This included the Gold, Diamond, and Platinum Jubilee medals after completing time as a helicopter pilot with the RAF's Search and Rescue force.
Inside the Venue
Westminster Abbey, a World Heritage Site, has been used on many occasions over thousands of years. For such a grand event, that being the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, it was the perfect location that seated 2,000 guests proving itself to be a historical venue to commemorate a historical period.
The funeral ceremony was led and directed by the Very Reverend Dr. David Hoyle MBE, the Dean of Westminster. Prior to its start, the tenor bell was heard every 60 seconds and continued to do so for 96 minutes. This was done to remember Queen Elizabeth II's 96 years of life.
King Charles III in the Committal Service
During the ceremony, the Dean of Windsor read a series of psalms to commence the service. As the ceremony went on, before Queen Elizabeth II's coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, her son, King Charles III, had a special responsibility that denoted the end of his mother's 70-year reign.
King Charles III approached the vault and placed the Queen's company camp color of the Grenadier Guards flag over the coffin. Following this act, Lord Chamberlain Baron Parker dismantled his wand of office in half and also placed this on the coffin. Collectively, these acts symbolized the end of the guards' service to her Majesty.
As members of the Royal family gathered at the funeral service, there were many moments captured. Of course, as mourners were saying goodbye to a historical and beloved family member, emotions ran high. Specifically, a photo of Meghan Markle surfaced.
Meghan and Prince Harry both publicly attended the funeral. However, it was a rare royal appearance as Prince Harry stepped down from his royal duties. But as Meghan watched her husband walk behind his grandmother's casket, photographers captured the moment she shed a tear, implying they were on good terms with the late monarch.
Anne's Unusual Uniform
Anne, Princess Royal, is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and the 16th in line for the throne. Typically, at Royal events, she is seen wearing her regular military dress. However, she respectfully wore the Royal Navy full ceremonial uniform for this occasion.
This uniform specifically denotes the branch of armed forces that supported the Queen throughout her funeral. Anne, Princess Royal, holds the titles of General for the British Army as well as Air Chief Marshal for the Royal Air Force. For this reason, she is usually in some sort of military garment.
The Sovereign's Orb & Sceptre
The Sovereign's orb and sceptre have been a part of monarch history since 1953. They were created in 1661 and were initialized in 1953 when Queen Elizabeth II was coronated as Queen at Westminster Abbey. Since then, the two ornaments have been dominant decorations of every coronation.
The two historical pieces have high sentimental value. The sceptre was typically present to represent power within the Royal family, while the orb was established as a symbol of the crown's power. The two will always have significance within the entire family and will most likely be seen again at King Charles III's coronation in 2023.
King Charles III's Attire
In the image below, Anne, Princess Royal, glances over at her brother, King Charles III. While Charles is in focus, we can see his uniform clearly. After serving in the military for six years, where his predominant role was flying for the Royal Navy, his uniform displays his duties served.
As Charles owns various army uniforms, he selected the Royal Navy No. 1 tailcoat uniform for his mother's funeral. His uniform includes 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. The uniform is completed with a personal sword.
According to Euro News, more than 4 billion people tuned in to watch Queen Elizabeth II's funeral. However, for the British nation that was able to physically attend, it was an opportunity not to turn down. As one of the most historical moments, British citizens went to great lengths to secure a visible spot on the grounds.
To show appreciation for the longest-reigning monarch, citizens stood at the Mall to watch the funeral procession. Some people slept at the Mall overnight. Still, the space designated for the public was full by 9:00 a.m. Collectively, over 1 million mourners gathered around London to watch the Queen travel through London one last time.
Prince Harry "Breaks" the Rules
As Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, does not attend fully to royal duties, he was not allowed to wear his custom military uniform. Instead, Prince Harry opted for a suitable and respectable black jacket and grey pinstriped trousers. However, he has not always followed through with the rules.
Prince Harry gave up working as a Royal, stripping him of his military titles. However, on September 17th, King Charles III gave Harry permission to re-wear his military uniform to walk behind his grandmother's coffin. Traditionally, members of the Royal family who have served in the military wear the uniform at all civil events.
As a Royal, members are pretty used to keeping a poker face, not showing off any emotion publicly in circumstances when necessary. However, on certain occasions, such as Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, reactions were more intense than usual. (Understandably so, of course.)
It was a moving day for the British nation, as well as worldwide. However, for the closest family members, it was a day of utter mourning. Particularly, Prince Harry was seen holding the tears back, almost with a lump in his throat. He maintained a respected reaction in front of the public despite being in a moment of deep sadness.
The Queen's Corgis
Queen Elizabeth II had been fond of the corgi dog breed ever since she was a child. In her life, she owned at least 30 from the moment she became Queen until her death. However, her two beloved Pembroke welsh corgis, Muick and Sandy, were present and looking lost as they were held by two guards.
The two corgis waited patiently at Windsor Castle to say goodbye to her Majesty. They watched from the quadrangle while one lay down on the floor looking hopeless and the other glazed into the open space. Now, both Muick and Sandy have been passed on to Prince Andrew and his former wife, Sarah Ferguson.
Designated Mourning Areas
The late monarch grew fond of flowers and particularly loved to walk through and take care of the gardens at Buckingham Palace. When it was time for the Queen's funeral, designated areas were reserved for the public to lay flowers as a tribute to her Majesty. Yet, they couldn't stay there forever.
Flowers were laid down all around London's Hyde Park, located next to Buckingham Palace, as well as Green Park. The flowers were kept there for one week after the funeral took place. From that point on, London's Royal Parks charity announced the flowers were going to be composted or recycled for other plant projects.
Meghan & Harry's Exit
Close family members and others who attended the funeral inside Westminster Abbey gathered for a total of four and a half hours. As they said goodbye to her Majesty, the Royal family members exited slowly in pairs. As Kate stood by her husband, Prince William, Meghan and Prince Harry were also inseparable.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan had returned from the United States to attend, which is where they relocated to with their children. When they exited, Meghan did not let go of her husband's hand. Although Prince Harry abdicated his Royal duties, the couple shared this moment as they reunited the family.
Aunt Meghan Makes a Debut
As established, there were many cars that drove behind the State Gun Carriage on the way to Westminster Abbey. Meghan sat in a car with Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, while Kate rode with her children. When all family members exited their cars and into the service, the two wives reunited by each other's side.
Meghan and Kate were photographed standing next to each other, while Prince George and Princess Charlotte stood in front of them. This was the first time Meghan was seen in the public eye with her niece and nephew. There was a parting between families ever since Meghan and Prince Harry reduced their duties and moved out of the UK.
King Charles III's Note to His Mother
As established, historical ornaments were placed on top of the Queen's coffin. These ornaments represented the Queen's long-lasting reign as well as what she displayed as the ruler of a country and a human being. However, sitting on top of the flowers lay a note.
The note was placed on top of the bouquet by King Charles III, her son. "In Loving and devoted memory, Charles R," it read. It is unimaginable to understand the pain of writing a letter to a deceased loved one. However, it was prominently on display and visible to the public. King Charles III even custom-selected the flowers.
The Legacy Continues
September 19th, 2022, was a gloomy day for most British Citizens, especially members of the Royal family. It will be a day that goes down in history. Many photographs captured various moments throughout the day. However, one photograph captured a more lighthearted moment of the day.
As seen above, Prince Harry, Princess Anne, and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence are seen at St. George's Chapel in Windsor, England. The trio was seen walking with light smiles on their faces to lift their spirits. As the family reunited from all over the world, it's safe to say the late Queen's memory will be cherished forever.