Charles mourns his mother from seat where Queen grieved alone for Philip just 17 months ago
King Charles III poignantly watched his mother's funeral from the same seat where his mother grieved alone for her husband last year.
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 on 8 September came almost exactly 18 months after the death of her husband Prince Philip.
Following a majestic ceremony in Westminster Abbey and a procession through London, the Queen was taken to Windsor to be buried in St George's Chapel alongside her husband of over 70 years.
During Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021, the Royal Family were subject to strict COVID-19 rules which banned separate households from mixing, and prohibited more than 30 people from attending a funeral.
The image of the Queen sat on her own on the pew wearing a face mask, across from her family members, became one of the defining images of the pandemic, giving an insight into the loss and grief hundreds of thousands felt across the country.
During a committal service – the first of a monarch to ever be televised – Charles sat in the very same seat where his mother sat alone.
Millions watched around the globe as a nation in mourning staged a final goodbye to its cherished longest-serving monarch.
The Queen’s state funeral was unprecedented in scale and grandeur for a sovereign incomparable in duty and service.
Many of the world’s royalty, presidents and prime ministers attended at Westminster Abbey, travelling thousands of miles to bear witness to the seismic change taking place in the UK.
Charles, stricken with sorrow, led his country, his siblings, his children and young grandchildren in honouring the Queen.
The new King, visibly moved, seemed close to tears as the national anthem was sung – for him, in rousing tribute to his new reign.
His words of tribute, handwritten on a message on the Queen’s coffin, were a poignant touch from her son and heir: “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.”
The coffin was a blaze of colour, a striking sight against the black-and-white chequered stone floor of the gothic abbey.
The funeral wreath contained glorious gold, light and bright pink and deep burgundy, with touches of white, to reflect colours of the Royal Standard draped beneath.
It was a moving gesture from the King to his mother, with the flowers and foliage cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove and chosen by him for their symbolism.
There was rosemary for remembrance, myrtle, the ancient symbol of a happy marriage and from a plant grown from a sprig in the Queen’s wedding bouquet, English oak to symbolise the strength of love, as well as pelargoniums, garden roses, autumnal hydrangea, sedum, dahlias and scabious.
Sparkling beneath the lights were the Crown Jewels – the Imperial state crown, the orb and the sceptre – the historic symbols of the monarchy.
The crown, orb and sceptre were then removed from the Queen’s coffin and placed onto the altar of St George’s Chapel by the Dean of Windsor.
The final hymn was sung as the King prepared to drape the Queen’s Company Camp Colour of the Grenadier Guards on the coffin.
Once in place, the colour was then accompanied by the Lord Chamberlain’s Wand of Office, which he symbolically broke.
The Queen’s coffin was then lowered into the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel, as the Dean of Windsor recited Psalm 103, which includes the traditional line: “Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul”.
He also offered the commendation – a prayer in which the deceased is entrusted to God’s mercy and the Garter King of Arms then pronounced the styles and titles of the Queen.
The service ended with the Sovereign Piper playing the lament A Salute to the Royal Fendersmith from the doorway between the chapel and the dean’s cloister, with the music gradually fading away as he walked towards the deanery.