We have just witnessed the end of an era. The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II took place on September 19th, 2022. May she rest in peace.
After a joyous post-Jubilee summer, the royal world was shaken when Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle on September 8th.
Where London was once awash in color and happiness during the Platinum Jubilee, it was now somber. The heart of it all was gone.
It was beautiful to see how many people united to recognize someone so special. The sheer number of people who paid tribute to Her Majesty for her jubilee and her funeral is a testament to how much the Queen inspired all of us, no matter where we’re from. She was cherished because of her service to her country without swaying in the breeze of ever-changing politics. People crave stability and the Queen provided that.
A History of Happiness and Unity
The iconic Prime Minister Winston Churchill once quoted Shakespeare to describe the outpouring of affection for Elizabeth’s wedding:
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin, and millions will welcome this joyous event as a flash of colour on the hard road we have to travel.”1
Elizabeth’s wedding day provided much-needed joy for the nation, weary after the war years. Her coronation a mere six years later was an even more splendid event. It gave the people hope for a bright future with a lovely young Queen, her gallant prince, and their adorable children.
Fast-forward to June 2022 when everyone joined together to celebrate Elizabeth’s historic 70-year reign with Platinum Jubilee parties. No matter where they came from, no matter their age or gender, everyone celebrated the life and reign of the Queen.
It’s also important to note that Elizabeth’s global reach cannot be underestimated. No matter where she went, leaders were impressed with her countenance and knowledge. The Queen had a character that made people feel at ease and in awe at the same time. No one went away without being a little star struck and full of admiration. No ambassador could come close to representing the United Kingdom and Commonwealth like she could.
The Next Generation
The Wales children, tiny figures in contrast to the enormous backdrop of history, looked serious but undaunted. A lip-reader pointed out Princess Charlotte’s sensible instructions to Prince George in the middle of it all: “You have to bow,” the princess told her elder brother as the Queen’s hearse drove past. One can imagine a young Lilibet instructing Princess Margaret in the same way.
Their parents, the new Prince and Princess of Wales, were somber but regal. Their positions in the Royal Family mean an increase in workload and visibility, but being prepared by Elizabeth means William and Kate are ready for a time such as this.
Doing What the British Do Best – Pomp
The Queen’s coffin was taken in a procession to Westminster Abbey on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy. It is tradition, but I thought it was especially poignant for the Queen to have this particular branch of her Armed Forces. As a Naval officer, the Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed his career and was stationed on Malta where he and Elizabeth enjoyed some of their happiest times as a young married couple.
After a beautiful service at the Abbey, the Queen’s coffin was driven to Windsor for a smaller service where she was to be interred in the Royal Vault. Applause and shouts of “God Save The Queen!” could be heard. Flowers were thrown onto the car.
As the car approached Windsor, it slowed and began its procession towards the chapel with more guards, horses, and crowds. Immediately surrounding the Queen’s casket was silent save for the applause and the clop of hooves and boots.
The most moving part of the whole event was seeing the Queen’s corgis and her pony stationed along the route to say farewell. Eagle-eyed viewers noted that Elizabeth’s headscarf was folded neatly on top of the pony’s saddle. Tears flowed freely at that point. It was such a personal touch that you couldn’t help but feel that you’d just lost a member of your own family.
At Windsor, the ceremony marked the conclusion of the public funeral. It was here that the Imperial State Crown, orb, and sceptre were removed from the coffin and returned to The Crown for the next sovereign. As we speak, the Imperial State Crown and St. Edward’s Crown are likely being refitted for HM King Charles III.
A Family’s Grief
A private burial followed later in the evening in The King George VI Memorial Chapel for family and the Queen’s staff. Away from the cameras, Elizabeth’s coffin was taken from the Royal Vault, along with the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, and buried alongside King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret.
May Christ’s presence comfort the members of the Queen’s family as they process their loss. In these times, we can look to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 to remember that we will see our loved ones again one day. While it may not be soon, it’s promised to us that it will happen. It is merely a long wait.
May it also comfort the Royal Family that “Us Four” and Philip the naval cadet are reunited. I imagine them to look as they appeared at that time, though without any sorrow, health problems, or regrets. All is well. They are home.
REMEMBER, O Lord, thy servant Elizabeth who has gone before us with the sign of faith, and now rests in sleep. According to thy promises, grant unto her, and to all who repose in Christ, refreshment, light and peace; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
All images are screenshots from various channels. Updated 10/4/22