On Wednesday at 14.22 (15.22 in Italy) the funeral procession began with which the body of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who died last Thursday at the age of 96, was carried from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the palace of Westminster, the seat of the two houses of the British Parliament in London. Thousands of people gathered in the city center to witness the passage of the queen’s coffin, followed by the closest members of the royal family: many others had queued up last night to visit the coffin, which from 5pm today will be on public display for four days at Westminster Hall.
The procession started from Buckingham Palace, the royal residence in the English capital, crossed the large tree-lined avenue of the Mall and then passed by some of the most significant places in central London: from Horse Guards Parade, the large parade ground at the end of the Mall, in Parliament Square, where the Palace of Westminster is located. Immediately behind the coffin were the new king, Charles III, and the other children of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne and princes Andrew and Edward.
The procession was also attended by Prince William and Prince Harry, the sons of Charles. The queen consort Camilla has instead reached Westminster Hall by car, as well as Catherine and Meghan, the wives of William and Harry, and Sophie, the wife of Edward.
The Queen’s coffin arrived in Westminster a few minutes after 3pm, where Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby celebrated a commemoration. To pay tribute to the sovereign, who with over 70 years of reign was the longest-lived monarch in the history of the United Kingdom, cannon shots were fired in Hyde Park during the procession and the bells of Big Ben tolled every minute.
From late afternoon the queen’s coffin will be on public display until 6.30am on Monday 19 September, the day the state funeral is scheduled. It will be guarded 24 hours a day by soldiers from the various units serving the Royal House and is expected to be visited by hundreds of thousands of people.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin arrives at the Palace of Westminster after a procession through streets from Buckingham Palacehttps: //t.co/OdymOsliC3 pic.twitter.com/lw1twElY5s
– BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) September 14, 2022
In recent days the armed forces and the police have been involved both in the monumental organization of the march and in the complicated operations to safeguard public order and guarantee security. Major General Christopher Ghika, in charge of organizing the march to Westminster, told a BBC Breakfast that the occasion required “a tremendous amount of work” in a climate of “significant pressure” for everything to function at its best.
As expected, during the passage of the coffin the crowd cheered and paid homage to the queen in a composed manner and no episodes of particular disorder or confusion were reported.
King Charles III and other royal family members walk behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as she is carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage past crowds of mourners to the Houses of Parliament. https://t.co/GzCgpVcTPB pic.twitter.com/Z9PSetmNc4
– The Associated Press (@AP) September 14, 2022
Meanwhile, British Airways had canceled 16 short-haul flights departing or arriving at Heathrow Airport so that aircraft noise would not interfere with the procession. The company has announced further disruptions for the day of the funeral.
– Read also: Photos of the Queen’s coffin arrival at Buckingham Palace
Thousands of people have gathered in the central streets of London since yesterday evening and throughout the morning, waiting to be able to pay homage to the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall. You don’t need to buy a ticket to do this, but the British government has made it known that you need to be prepared to stand in line for many hours, mostly standing, as well as following strict rules.
The queue, which is progressively lengthening, starts in the Westminster area and crosses Lambeth Bridge to proceed along the south bank of the Thames towards Westminster Bridge. Then it goes eastwards, towards the London Eye Ferris wheel, and depending on the number of people flocked it continues gradually towards the Golden Jubilee Bridge, the Waterloo Bridge, the exhibition space of the Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge. The queue could even go beyond the famous Tower Bridge.
Once in the Westminster area, before entering parliament, people who want to visit the queen’s coffin still have to go through security checks similar to those that are carried out at airports: it is only allowed to carry a small bag each and it is forbidden have food and drinks of all kinds with you, as well as flowers, candles, flags, photographs and of course sharp objects, sprays or any other object that could disturb or be used to damage the building and what it contains. It will be forbidden to take photos and videos inside Westminster Hall.
– Read also: Why do monarchies still exist?
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