Bells toll as the queen's coffin reaches its last stop, Windsor Castle: live updates
A process that began more than a week ago at Balmoral Castle in Scotland is finally reaching its conclusion at Windsor Castle outside London, where Queen Elizabeth will be laid to rest in the royal vault alongside her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.
Queen Elizabeth’s coffin reaches its last stop: Windsor Castle
A process that began more than a week ago at Balmoral Castle in Scotland is finally reaching its conclusion at Windsor Castle on the outskirts of London. A motorcade escorted the hearse bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin to the castle after driving from Wellington Arch — a trip that followed a lengthy procession on foot to the historic arch from Westminster Abbey.
The committal service at St. George's Chapel is slated to start at 4 p.m. local time — 11 a.m. ET. You can follow along with the order of service here.
After the service, Elizabeth’s coffin will be lowered into the royal vault, laid to rest alongside her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.
Just before that happens, several ceremonial necessities will take place: The crown, orb and scepter that have sat atop the coffin will be removed and placed on an altar. And the lord chamberlain — a post appointed by the monarch — “will ‘break’ his Wand of Office and place it on the Coffin,” according to the royal website.
The the queen's royal hearse — with ample windows — travels to Windsor Castle
The most public part of the procession is now underway, as the queen’s flag-draped coffin rides in a Jaguar hearse with immense windows, allowing throngs of people gathered along the route to see inside.
In contrast to the pomp and circumstance of the military procession to Wellington Arch, this portion of the trip to Windsor Castle is marked by sporadic cheers. People occasionally toss flowers toward the hearse as it passes.
The hearse is making a roughly 22-mile trip due west, toward where Windsor Castle sits on the far side of the Thames River.
The queen’s coffin departs for Windsor, one final time
Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is on its way to Windsor Castle, where she will be laid to rest in St. George's Chapel. The coffin was loaded onto a royal hearse at Wellington Arch in London in a brief ceremony.
Once the next stage of the procession ends at St. George’s Chapel, the queen's family will hold a committal service.
The coffin arrived after a roughly hour-long procession from Westminster Abbey that was periodically marked by tolling bells and gun salutes.
As King Charles III takes the crown, here's how he may focus his reign
As King Charles III begins his reign as Britain's new monarch, focus turns to how he may use his position as head of state to promote causes that he's been passionate about for decades — the environment and climate change, in particular, as well as other philanthropic efforts.
Throughout her 70 years on the throne and up until her death on Sept. 8, Queen Elizabeth II sought to maintain strict political neutrality, going so far as not to vote.
And while Charles has been careful not to tread too publicly, he does have a history of wading into politics, causing some British officials to voice concern that he may be more willing to do as king.
Nowhere has Charles been more outspoken than the threat posed by climate change. Last year, speaking at the opening ceremony of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, he warned that the time for addressing climate change had "quite literally run out."
Earlier this year, Charles also was seen as making a thinly veiled criticism of a controversial new immigration policy from the government of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson that sends all asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing. In his Easter message in April, Charles referred to the "unutterable tragedy" of those who've been "forced to flee their country and seek shelter far from home," saying they are "in need of a welcome, of rest, and of kindness." In private, he reportedly described the policy as "appalling."
The queen’s coffin is carried through the heart of London
A royal procession is bringing Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch near Buckingham Palace. The flag-draped coffin is resting on a gun carriage, with King Charles walking behind it.
It amounts to a massive and very somber parade, complete with a military band. People paying their respects are packed along the sidewalks, standing silently behind barricades as the procession goes by.
Princess Charlotte and Prince George draw notice
Children are often the source of smiles at any church service — even a funeral. And many people took note Monday of Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince George, 9, dressed somberly and stylishly as they lay their great-grandmother to rest.
Charlotte wore all black, highlighting a horseshoe brooch that is reportedly an homage to the late queen’s fondness for horses. The two joined their parents to walk behind Queen Elizabeth II's coffin in Westminster.
The queen’s family walks behind her coffin
The procession makes its way slowly through the immense church, taking slow, deliberate steps. The queen’s coffin is followed by the king, leading his younger siblings and his children.
They walked largely by pairs; here are the notable names in order: King Charles and Camilla, the queen consort; Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence; Prince Andrew (walking on his own); Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Forfar and Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Forfar; Prince William and his family; Prince Harry and his wife, followed by other relatives.
Not everyone mourns the queen. For many, she can't be separated from colonial rule
Queen Elizabeth II's death has garnered a spectrum of feelings around the world about her life, legacy and the monarchy.
When she took the throne in 1952, more than a quarter of the world's population was under British imperial power. That was more than 700 million people — including in parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific islands.
While her 70-year reign saw the British Empire become the Commonwealth of Nations — and the decline of the United Kingdom's global influence — the scars of colonialism linger. Many note the enslavement, violence and theft that defined imperial rule, and they find it difficult to separate the individual from the institution and its history.
Moses Ochonu, a professor of African studies at Vanderbilt University, told NPR the queen's death brought attention to "unfinished colonial business."
"There is a sense in which Britain has never fully accounted for its crimes," Ochonu said.
From past atrocities to ownership of the crown jewels, read more about the reckoning that many in former colonies say is overdue.
'Sleep, dearie, sleep'
The ornate service concludes on a simple note.
As the ceremony nears its end, all remain standing to hear the Queen’s Piper, Warrant Officer Class 1 (Pipe Major) Paul Burns play a traditional song on the bagpipe: “Sleep, dearie, sleep.”
An organist then plays Bach’s “Fantasia in C minor” as the process of carrying the coffin out of the church begins.
Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are seated in the second row in Westminster
Prince Harry, duke of Sussex, and Meghan, duchess of Sussex, sat in the second row, directly behind King Charles with the queen’s coffin directly before them. Prince William, the prince of Wales, sat in the front row across the aisle alongside his family.
A kingdom pauses in silence for its late queen
The U.K. is observing two minutes of silence to mark the end of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, beginning at 11:55 a.m. local time — 6:55 a.m. ET.
“Local authorities, businesses, organizations and individuals may choose to join us in observing this silence,” the government said as it announced the commemoration.
NPR's Rachel Treisman was outside to watch the moment.
And she recorded as the crowd burst into song.
Prime Minister Liz Truss gives a biblical reading
U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss read from the Bible at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral less than two weeks after the queen made Truss’ new position official.
The section Truss read begins with John 14:1, in which Jesus comforts his disciples upon his pending death: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also,” Truss recited. “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”
Fans braved the cold, the crowds and the chaos to camp along the procession route
Dozens of groups had set up tents, sleeping bags, folding chairs and pizza box towers along the blocked-off street where the queen's casket will travel.
Camping out before a royal event is a beloved tradition for some and a bucket-list item for others, but special for all.
And it's not necessarily a quiet night under the stars.
One royal fan told NPR, that while the atmosphere is lovely and unifying, there's a lot going on.
Follow the order of service
Here is a full rundown of what is happening at the state funeral this morning at Westminster Abbey.
Here's what it looks like in the streets of London
NPR's Rachel Treisman is along the procession route in London today. Follow her on Twitter for updates on what it looks like outside Westminster Abbey and interviews with the mourners gathering to remember the queen.
I’ll be tweeting from out and about in London during the funeral (as cell service allows).— Rachel Treisman (@rachel_treisman) September 19, 2022
It’s just after 8 am and I’m along the procession route, along with many other people with cameras and coffee cups in hand. Lots of security and occasional applause as soldiers pass by. pic.twitter.com/TrKhkd4WYc
How the U.K. plans to keep world leaders safe for the queen's funeral
Leaders from around the world will converge today on Westminster Abbey in London for a ceremony to pay their respects to the late queen.
President Biden, Japan's Emperor Naruhito, France's President Emmanuel Macron and many others are expected to attend.
It's an unprecedented and challenging security situation for the officials in charge.
Former U.K. national coordinator for counterterrorism Nick Aldworth told NPR that vehicles would be banned from the area's perimeter and that drones would also be a particular area of concern.
"We've had some recent cases in the U.K. where drones have been used nefariously. And we've been very, very effective at detecting them, tracking them back and arresting offenders," Aldworth said.
As many as 750,000 people were predicted to travel to London for the state funeral and pay their respects as the queen lies in state, according to The Guardian. For comparison, about 200,000 made that journey in 2002 to do the same after the death of the Queen Mother.
The Guardian spoke with Bob Broadhurst, who directed security and logistics for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and for the 2012 London Olympics. He estimated that as many as 10,000 police officers would be assigned to secure the operation each day, including some who would travel from across England for the occasion. He noted that 1,500 military personnel would be on standby to assist as well. Armed guards will overlook the procession and rooftop snipers also have been called in.
Westminster Abbey is expected to be so packed that even the highest-profile guests have been told to bring only their spouses or partners. Officials also asked that foreign heads of state use commercial flights to enter the United Kingdom, and have banned the use of private helicopters for the duration of ceremonies. Dignitaries were advised against using their own state cars for transportation to the funeral itself. Instead, they will be bused in groups from a location in West London.
They lined up to say goodbye to the queen. They also made history — and friends
Hundreds of thousands of mourners from around the world waited more than 10 hours on foot for just a few precious seconds with the late Queen Elizabeth II — the only monarch most have ever known, and the last queen of England many are expecting to see in their lifetimes.
The mood was mournful but also joyful, as people gathered together to celebrate the queen.
Some dressed for the occasion, like the rugby coach wearing a Union Jack button-up vest and the history buff dressed as a 17th-century royalist, cloak and all.
"I've made friends in this queue — we've exchanged numbers, we've shared food ... there's a group of us who will meet up after this," Teresa Bhatti told NPR. "We've enjoyed every single second of it."
Crowds descend on London ahead of the queen’s funeral
U.K. authorities expect Queen Elizabeth’s funeral to draw 1 million people to London, and it’s clear they’re not just coming in for Monday’s ceremony.
The line to see the queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall reached an estimated wait time of 24 hours on Friday, with the separate accessible line permanently closing on Saturday after reaching maximum capacity.
Green Park, which has been designated for floral tributes, bloomed with mourners visiting to deposit and admire lush bouquets and heartfelt cards. By Saturday, the streets around that area and Buckingham Palace had become one massive line of its own. People were pressed shoulder-to-shoulder on the sidewalk, sometimes at a total standstill, as officers tried to control the flow of foot traffic (which was limited to one direction).
A security officer at the scene said the walk to the palace, which would normally take five to 10 minutes from that point, could take several hours.
Renee Campbell, 22, and his group had been planning to stop by Buckingham Palace on Saturday afternoon after standing in line for eight hours to see the queen’s coffin. But they reconsidered when they saw the jam-packed streets.
“There’s another queue?” he asked in disbelief. “Screw it.”
Secure in the knowledge that he could get to the palace with a lot less hassle at pretty much any other time, he headed to the nearest pub instead.
Dignitaries are arriving for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral
Guests have begun arriving for the funeral of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. The queen is no longer lying in state — at about 10:44 a.m. London time (5:44 a.m. ET), the procession will begin, transporting her coffin from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey for the funeral, which begins at 6 a.m. ET.
About 200 people will be attending the funeral. Attendees will include “Heads of State and Overseas Government Representatives, including Foreign Royal Families, Governors General and Realm Prime Ministers,” according to the British Royal Family website. The heads of state in attendance include President Biden, French President Macron, and Jacinda Ardern and Justine Trudeau, the prime ministers of New Zealand and Canada, respectively.
The service will be led by Dean of Westminster David Hoyle, and the sermon will be given by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Various archbishops will say prayers, and the service will conclude with two minutes of silence and the national anthem.
After the funeral and a stop at Wellington Arch, her coffin will be taken to the St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle to be buried in the Royal Vault during a 4 p.m. service. A private burial service will start later in the evening.
Anticipation grows ahead of the royal funeral procession
About 30 minutes before the queen’s coffin is set to depart to Westminster Abbey, the surrounding area is full of police and barricades. Many streets are blocked off and mostly empty, but increasingly people are passing by on foot (many asking officers for directions). Accessories of choice seem to be cameras, light jackets and to-go coffee cups.
Scenes from along the route: People are pressed up against the barriers along the road, sitting on the stone wall overlooking the street and standing on the walls of buildings lining the sidewalks - it’s very crowded and officers are urging people walking in between to keep moving. They sporadically burst into applause as what appear to be soldiers walk down the route. As of 8:04 am nothing has started but people have been here for ours to stake out a good spot (some camped overnight).
Farzana Khan of London is dressed in a formal black outfit and veil. Even after lining up for 13 hours to see the queen, and seeing her coffin multiple times at events during the mourning period, she says it wasn’t until she picked out her handbag last night that the sense of loss truly hit her.
“I got a bit teary,” she says. “I was surprised. I think maybe just realizing that feminine reign is leaving and now we’re going to have a masculine reign. How is the synergy going to change?”
Farther down along the wall, Suraiya Isaac and her sister Raqia Sultana are also dressed in formal wear. They say it’s out of respect for the queen. Isaac says her sister, Razia Hadait, was just awarded MB queen’s honors list for her work supporting families of incarcerated people and is one of 200 awardees selected to attend the funeral.
Where’s everyone getting those flowers?
Overwhelmed by the volume, variety and beauty of the floral tributes to Queen Elizabeth, I set out to talk to some florists about their busy week. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they didn’t really have the time.
At bustling Victoria Station, Isle of Flowers opened up a pop-up stand on the ground floor last week to accommodate the flow of passengers rushing out to pay their respects. It's just down the escalator from their regular shop. The pop-up's last day is Monday.
As longtime employee Loreta Mujaj wrapped roses in paper and tucked them gently into the display over the weekend, she says people are buying “everything and anything.”
“The majority is the white flowers, I would say,” she muses, then adds sunflowers and roses to the list too.
She says they keep selling out of flowers and usually see the biggest crowd in the mornings — “enough to slow us down,” she says without pausing as she puts another wrapped flower on the pile beside her.
Just yards away, the small flower section at the station’s Marks & Spencer store is a little cramped. A woman and her son are heading for the exit with a freshly plucked (off the shelf, that is) bouquet.
Rachel Cockbill says they had hoped to join the line to see the queen's coffin that Saturday, but called off the plan after hearing at 5:30 a.m. that the wait would be 24 hours. Instead, they’re going back to Green Park, a royal park near Buckingham Palace where mourners are leaving flowers and notes. It's the second visit of the week for Cockbill and her son, and this time they're going with what she describes as “sort of whitey roses, because that was the queen’s favorite color flower.”
Earlier that day I had asked a pair of women on the street holding orange roses where they’d gotten their flowers (grocery store purchases). I thanked them for their time and continued down the street, only to realize a few seconds later that they were chasing me down with outstretched arms to offer me one rose each.
I explained that I was just asking for reporting purposes, but they wouldn’t hear of it. So off I went with my single orange flower. I was still holding it as I spoke with Mujaj at the Isle of Flowers pop-up. At the end of our conversation, she handed me a white rose to make it two.
The queen’s face is everywhere in London
The world's eyes are on London these days, with residents, visitors and dignitaries coming in droves to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.
Her death and the many formalities surrounding it have consumed the city itself. There are near-constant reminders in the form of newspaper fronts, huge crowds, traffic jams and signage.
Images of the queen — usually in black-and-white and accompanied by the years of her birth and death — are all over the city, from airport baggage claim signs to hotel interiors to storefronts to the window of McDonald’s. Some include short messages of condolences and thanks.
Here are some examples:
People are mourning — and buying lots of commemorative goods
It’s time to talk about ~queen merch~— Rachel Treisman (@rachel_treisman) September 18, 2022
Gift shops were already stocked with collectibles celebrating the queen’s 70th year on the throne. Now display windows and storefronts are full of souvenirs commemorating her death. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/1ykonAPapA
Britain's longest-reigning monarch may be gone, but you can remember her forever with her likeness on a shirt ... or a cup ... or whatever.
Royal souvenirs have been around almost as long as the British monarchy itself — people have been shelling out for Jubilee memorabilia since the 1600s, according to Buckingham Palace.
And with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, store shelves around London are packed with all kinds of products to honor her.