After a mournful procession, Queen Elizabeth II rests in state - worldsnews
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After a mournful procession, Queen Elizabeth II rests in state

A melancholy procession carrying Queen Elizabeth II's coffin through the crowd-lined, flag-draped streets of London to Westminster Hall was led by a horse-drawn carriage, cannon salutes, and the tolling of Big Ben on Wednesday. There will be a formal funeral for Britain's longest-reigning king.

The casket was decorated with a garland of white flowers, and her crown was lying on a purple velvet pillow. Her son, King Charles III, and his brothers and sons marched behind the coffin.

Up until her funeral on Monday, the queen will lay in state for four days, and tens of thousands of people are anticipated to pass by. The oak and lead-lined coffin was carried by eight pall bearers into Westminster Hall, where it was placed on an elevated platform called a catafalque.

The military parade from Buckingham Palace was intended to emphasize the queen's seven decades in office as the process of national grief moved to the opulent boulevards and significant sites of the British capital.

As the procession passed, thousands of people who had been waiting for hours along The Mall outside the palace and other points along the route held up phones and cameras and others wiped away tears. As the casket moved across Horse Guards Parade, cheers erupted.

The Imperial State Crown, which is covered in about 3,000 diamonds, and a bouquet of flowers and plants, including pine from the Balmoral Estate, where Elizabeth passed away on September 8 at the age of 96, were placed on the coffin, which was also covered with the Royal Standard.

On either side of the gun carriage, 32 members of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in crimson uniforms and bearskin helmets strolled. The 38-minute procession came to a conclusion at Westminster Hall, where Charles and other royals joined Justin Welby for a ceremony.

"Don't let your heart be worried; if you trust in God, then you should believe in me. Welby recited a passage from the Book of John that said, "There are many mansions in my Father's home; if it were not so, I would have informed you.

Thousands of people had gathered along the River Thames' banks to wait in line before being allowed to enter the chapel and pay their respects.

Following her 70 years on the throne, the throngs are the most recent example of the nation's outpouring of sadness and reverence for the only queen the majority of Britons have ever known.

Cheshire, in northwest England, resident Joan Bucklehurst, 50, a store employee, said the queen "meant so much for everyone."

She said, holding back tears, "She was fantastic, sure. We had to be here, so. We've visited this location on a few occasions for special events, but I couldn't miss this one.

It was "our final opportunity to perform our job for the queen, and it's our first opportunity to do it for the king, and that makes us all very pleased," said Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika of the Household division, who coordinated the ceremonial components of the queen's burial.

Since the queen's passing, the troops taking part in the parade have been preparing. The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery horses have also.

The horses were particularly taught, according to Sgt. Tom Jenks of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, including how to manage sobbing mourners as well as flowers and flags being thrown in front of the parade.

In order to "guarantee stillness over central London as the ceremonial procession goes from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall," Heathrow Airport briefly suspended all flights.

According to the White House, President Joe Biden phoned with Charles on Wednesday to express his sympathies.

The statement stated that Biden remembered "the Queen's generosity and hospitality" when she welcomed them and the first lady to Windsor Castle in June. He also expressed the American people's strong love for the Queen, whose dignity and steadfastness strengthened their long-standing friendship and unique connection.

Every time the queen's coffin was transported during its protracted trip from Scotland to London, crowds lined the path.

Thousands of people braved the normal London wet on Tuesday night to watch the hearse gently make its way from an air base to Buckingham Palace while internal lights illuminated the coffin.

Earlier, during her 24-hour interment at St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, about 33,000 people walked silently by her casket.

Before her state funeral on Monday, hundreds of thousands are anticipated to attend the 900-year-old Westminster Hall, the oldest edifice in Parliament.

King and queens had grand medieval dinners there, Guy Fawkes and Charles I were tried there, and Queen Elizabeth II received ceremonial addresses at her silver, golden, and diamond jubilees.

Chris Bond, a resident of Truro in southwest England, was one among thousands waiting in line along the River Thames's banks. In 2002, he also went to see the queen's mother laid to rest.

Naturally, standing in line all day is challenging, but when you enter Westminster Hall, that magnificent, ancient structure, there is a fantastic sense of calm and you are told to take as much time as you like, he added.

We knew the queen was in good health and had given the nation many years of service, but we had hoped this day would never arrive, he said.

Chris Imafidon was assigned to the sixth spot on the line.

When I see her, I feel 1,001 emotions, he declared. Because she had a positive impact on so many people and accomplished so much good, "I want to say, God, she was an angel."