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Friday, 27 January 2023
King Charles, sons join procession for Queen Elizabeth’s last journey from palace
Britain's King Charles III (L), Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales (2L) and Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex walk behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown and pulled by a Gun Carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, during a procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, in London on September 14, 2022. (AFP)

King Charles, his sons Princes William and Harry and other senior royals joined a solemn procession to take Queen Elizabeth’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to parliament on Wednesday as artillery guns fired salutes and Big Ben tolled.

Huge crowds gathered in central London to witness the latest in a series of poignant ceremonies as the nation mourns the monarch who died last week aged 96 after seven decades on the throne.

Lying on a gun carriage, covered by the Royal Standard flag and with the Imperial State Crown placed on a cushion on top alongside a wreath of flowers, the coffin bearing Elizabeth’s body began a slow, somber procession from her palace home to Westminster Hall, where it will lie in state for four days.

Walking directly behind were Charles and his siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

In a group following them were Charles’s sons Princes William and Harry, a doleful scene reminiscent of when, as boys 25 years ago, they followed the casket of their mother Princess Diana when it was taken on a similar procession through central London.

The Queen’s coffin, borne on a Gun Carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, is taken in procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster - The Royal Family's official Twitter account

It was also a symbolic show of unity as William, 40, now the Prince of Wales, and Harry, 37, the Duke of Sussex, are now said to be barely be on speaking terms after a bitter falling out in the last couple of years.

“We’re seeing something very sad but very special,” said Charlie Cooper, 51, who came down by coach from Liverpool, northern England, to watch.

“It’s part of my history, and millions of others around the world.”

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As the cortege moved slowly through central London, where numerous roads have been closed to traffic, guns began firing every minute at Hyde Park, while parliament’s famous Big Ben bell also rang at 60-second intervals.

Other senior royals including Charles’ wife Camilla,now the Queen Consort, Kate, William’s wife and now Princess of Wales, and Harry’s wife, Meghan, traveled by car.

When the procession reaches Westminster Hall, a medieval building with origins dating back to 1097 and the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster that houses the British parliament, the coffin will be carried inside by soldiers from the Grenadier Guards and placed on a catafalque.

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There will be a short service conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the Anglican Church. Four days of lying in state will then begin until the funeral on September 19.

“I feel very privileged and honored actually to see the queen's final passing from her home,” said Caroline Clark, 56, who had traveled up from her home in southwest England to watch. “It means a lot to be able to pay my respects.”

Source: alarabiyaenglish