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19 September 2022

King Charles leads royal family members behind Queen's coffin on route to funeral

19 September 2022

The Queen’s state funeral has begun with the grieving royal family, world leaders and representatives of the nation among those witnessing history.

A single toll from Big Ben signalled the start of the service at Westminster Abbey, where kings and queens have been crowned since 1066, and where the new monarch was sitting surrounded by the royal family he now leads.

The King, Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex as the coffin of the Queen leaves Westminster Hall for the state funeral at Westminster Abbey (Yui Mok/PA)

King Charles III and his siblings – the Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex – had marched behind their mother’s coffin as it travelled the short distance from Westminster Hall, where the Queen had been lying in state for four days, to the ancient Abbey.

Tens of thousands have filled the capital to pay their last respects just a few hours after the last person had filed past the Queen’s coffin, bringing to a close the symbolic ritual.

Presidents and prime ministers from across the globe filled the Abbey, with US President Joe Biden among the mourners alongside France’s President Emmanuel Macron, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, her counterpart from Canada Justin Trudeau, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Two of the Queen’s great-grandchildren, future king Prince George, aged nine, and his seven-year-old sister Princess Charlotte, joined their parents the Prince and Princess of Wales at the state funeral, after reaching an age where they can participate in the national event.

William had walked behind his grandmother’s coffin with his brother the Duke of Sussex and his cousin Peter Phillips, following in the footsteps of Charles and his siblings.

Westminster Abbey was the venue for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s 1947 wedding and now this ancient place of worship was the fitting venue for her funeral.

Among the congregation were all six living former prime ministers – Sir John Major, Sir Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Theresa May, David Cameron and Boris Johnson – with members of the Cabinet led by the current premier, Liz Truss.

A large number of minor royals were invited including the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall and her husband former England rugby star Mike Tindall, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their spouses, and Sarah, Duchess of York.

Other attendees included a group of Chelsea Pensioners in their red tunics and Knights of the Garter in their velvet cloaks.

A number of people recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic were also invited.

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