Britain's last goodbye: Mourners shed tears in final farewell to Queen

·6-min read
Members of the public are emotional during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
A mourner in London breaks down in tears during the Queen's state funeral. (PA)

The Queen's state funeral has caused an outpouring of emotion across the UK.

Many people in crowds who had gathered to watch the event were reduced to tears.

Thousands gathered in London and other parts of the UK as the state funeral service took place in Westminster Abbey.

There were also tears inside the church as the life of the Queen was celebrated by the Royal Family and guests.

Read more: Queen's funeral - royals from around the world arrive to pay respects

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: A tearful mourner wipes their eyes during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.  (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
A tearful mourner in London during the Queen's state funeral. (Getty Images)
Members of the public on the Mall listen to the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
A girl in tears on The Mall in London during the Queen's state funeral. (PA)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: A tearful mourner wipes their eyes during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.  (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
A tearful mourner wipes their eyes during the Queen's state funeral. (Getty Images)

In Whitehall and Parliament Square, the funeral service moved some to tears.

As a crowd of thousands listened to the funeral, the proceedings from Westminster Abbey relayed by speakers above the street, some sang quietly along with the hymns.

Watch: Queen's coffin arrives for state funeral

As the funeral service began at Westminster Abbey, the crowd around Parliament Square began to drift – some for a much-needed sit down, others to grab a quick sandwich or a bite to eat.

But slowly, many edged back towards Whitehall and to the best viewing points in Parliament Square to await the final procession of the Queen’s coffin through London and onwards to Windsor.

When the time came for the two-minute silence at the end of the funeral, not a sound could be heard the length of Whitehall as many in the crowd bowed their head or closed their eyes.

Even as the two-minutes elapsed, many remained hushed and quiet. It was not until the time came, a few moments later, to sing the national anthem that the crowd roused itself, applause breaking out across the length of Whitehall when it came to a close.

Members of the public, one of them holding a Paddington Bear toy, outside Buckingham Palace watching the funeral procession of Queen Elizabeth II. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
A man draped in a Union flag and holding a Paddington Bear toy wipes his eyes outside Buckingham Palace. (PA)
Members of the public are emotional during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
A woman wipes away a tear during the Queen's state funeral. (PA)
Members of the public on the Mall listen to the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
Members of the public on The Mall listen to the Queen's state funeral. (PA)
Members of the public on the Mall listen to the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
Mourners on The Mall listen to the Queen's state funeral. (PA)

Tears streamed down the faces of mourners among the crowds on Constitution Hill.

Others began putting away iPads and tablets, which they streamed the service on and held up to allow those further back to watch, in anticipation for the passing of the cortege.

The street was lined with a half-company from the Royal Air Force (RAF) standing alongside police officers.

As the national anthem was sung after the service, the clouds parted and the sun shone through the trees in Green Park.

In Birmingham’s Centenary Square, up to 500 people braved a downpour to watch a screening of the Queen’s funeral.

There was a hushed silence throughout the service, save for the occasional pointing out of a brief observation or explanation of a detail, from a parent to a child.

Some wiped away tears, while others simply hugged one another through shared grief.

Members of the public in the crowd on The Mall, central London ahead of the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
A woman cries in the crowd on The Mall, central London. (PA)

During the service in Westminster Abbey, the Countess of Wessex was spotted dabbing a tear from her eye and Princess Beatrice looked overcome with emotion at one point.

During the funeral service, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby contrasted the outpouring of emotion for the Queen with how leaders who “cling to power and privileges” will be regarded.

In an address to a congregation packed with world statesmen, current British politicians and former prime ministers, the archbishop said “leaders of loving service” would be remembered when others are “long forgotten”.

In his sermon, the archbishop said: “People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer.

“But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.”

Members of the public in the crowd on The Mall, central London ahead of the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
Members of the public in the crowd on The Mall, central London. (PA)

Hundreds of people gathered inside Bristol Cathedral to watch the funeral on a large television screen.

Will Spencer, from Bristol, said afterwards: “It was a lovely service actually and a fitting tribute to our Queen."

Lara Elliott, also from Bristol, said: “It was very moving and beautiful. The music was incredible – it gave me goosebumps.”

Peter Watkinson, 53, who served with the Grenadier Guards, and Tony Ross, 55, who served with the Welsh Guards, watched the funeral service together in Manchester’s Exchange Square, where it was shown on a big screen.

Members of the public on the Mall listen to the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
A woman in tears during the Queen's state funeral. (PA)

Watkinson, from Manchester, said: “It’s definitely more poignant watching it among other people.

“The guys carrying Her Majesty’s coffin, I was in that company, so it’s more poignant for me and I feel pride.”

Ross, who is originally from Cardiff but now lives in Didsbury, south Manchester, said: “When I found out she had died I was gutted but I know for a fact she would want us to carry on regardless so it’s just about embracing and enjoying it now and respecting who she was.”

Read more: Queen's state funeral in pictures

Members of the public line Horse Guards Road during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
Members of the public on Horse Guards Road during the Queen's state funeral. (PA)
Members of the public cry as they watch the State Funeral Service of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on a large screen in Hyde Park, London, on September 19, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the public cry as they watch the the Queen's state funeral on a large screen in Hyde Park, London. (AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the crowd on The Mall listen to the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
Two women on The Mall in London hug during the Queen's state funeral. (PA)

James Davies, 30, from Bridgend, South Wales, was in Manchester for the weekend and decided to watch the funeral service on the big screen in Exchange Square.

He said: “It’s amazing seeing the diversity of people here paying their respects. It’s a momentous day.

“It was a beautiful service. It was a little bit emotional because you’re watching someone burying their grandmother.”

Jeannie Thorpe, from Sheffield, admitted she shed tears as she watched the service on a screen in the city’s cathedral.

Thorpe said: “I thought it was impeccable. The people spoke so eloquently. It was just beautiful.

“Very, very moving. We shed lots of tears in there but it was for a worthy cause.

“She was an amazing lady and we’ll all take inspiration from the way she’s led her life.”

Watch: Final mourners attend Queen's lying in state as queue closes