British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Sept. 8, aged 96, after ruling for 70 years, is being accorded a state funeral on Monday at Westminster Abbey.
International dignitaries attending alongside the British royal family include President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden and all of the heads of the Commonwealth including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indian President Droupadi Murmu and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Joining them will be President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska and the presidents of Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Poland, among other representatives.
By 6 a.m., people were already filtering on to the Tube with bunches of supermarket flowers, Union Jacks and small step ladders and foldaway chairs in hand. On the Mall, leading up to Buckingham Palace, entire families were camped along either side, evidently unbothered by the early hour, only eager to catch a glimpse of the Queen’s final drive away from her London home, which is — at time of publication — still about five hours away. A cheer goes up every time guards on horseback hit the road.
As delegates began to pile into Westminister Abbey, Scott McLean, International Correspondent for CNN, spoke to the last woman who got to see the Queen’s coffin before the Abbey closed its doors. She had waited in line for hours and had paid respects already. But “since the line was quick, I thought to do it again.”
She turned out to be the last member of the public who had spent the last few days lining up for hours to see the coffin.
McLean commented on the people lining streets by the Abbey being lined 6 to 9 people deep and spoke with a woman who had spent hours waiting. She had met the Queen in 2012. “It was wonderful,” she recalled. “I was humbled; it was the best day of my life.” When asked what the Queen meant to her, she replied, “She represents fairness, equality and stability. That’s why it was appropriate for me to pay our last respects.”
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