London: Queen Elizabeth II will be laid to rest on Monday, after a grand state funeral attended by leaders from around the world, and a historic final ceremonial journey through the bustling streets of London.
The longest-serving monarch in British history died at the age of 96 in Balmoral, her Scottish Highland retreat, on September 8 after a year of declining health.
The last state funeral held in Britain was in 1965 for the country’s war prime minister, Winston Churchill.
Then the cranes that once unloaded the spoils of the vast British Empire that Elizabeth had inherited were respectfully lowered as his coffin was carried up the River Thames by barge.
In the six decades since, Britain’s global reach has declined sharply and its place in the modern world has become less certain.
But the country will still dig deep into its centuries-old tradition of honoring the one monarch most Britons have ever known.
Many ordinary people camped for days to witness the elaborate spectacle of pageantry and pay their last respects.
Following the funeral, the Queen’s flag-draped coffin, crowned with the majestic Imperial State Crown, will be taken west to Windsor Castle.
She will be buried next to her father King George VI, her mother Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and sister Princess Margaret, reuniting the family that once called themselves “us four”.
The coffin of her husband Prince Philip, who died last year at the age of 99, will also be transferred to lie next to her.