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By MIKE CORDER, JILL LAWLESS and SYLVIA HUI
LONDON (AP) — Britain and the world are laying Queen Elizabeth II to relaxation on Monday at a state funeral that may draw presidents and kings, princes and prime ministers — and as much as one million folks lining the streets of London to say a remaining goodbye to a monarch whose 70-year reign outlined an age.
A day full of funeral occasions in London and Windsor started early when the doorways of 900-year-old Westminster Corridor have been closed to mourners after a whole bunch of 1000’s had filed in entrance of her coffin since Sept 14. A lot of them had spent chilly nights outdoor to pay their respects across the queen’s flag-draped coffin in a shifting outpouring of nationwide grief and respect. Later, a bell at Westminster Abbey started to toll, and it’ll ring as soon as a minute for 96 minutes to honor every year of Elizabeth’s life.
The closing of the corridor marked the top of greater than 4 days of the coffin mendacity in state and the beginning of the U.Okay.’s first state funeral for the reason that one held in 1965 for Winston Churchill, the primary of 15 prime ministers throughout Elizabeth’s reign. Two days earlier than her Sept. 8 loss of life at her Balmoral summer season retreat, the queen appointed her final prime minister, Liz Truss.
Among the many final mourners to hitch the road to see the coffin was Tracy Dobson from Hertfordshire, simply north of London.
“I felt like I had to come and pay my final respects to our majestic queen, she has done so much for us and just a little thank you really from the people,” she mentioned.
Monday has been declared a public vacation in honor of Elizabeth, who died Sept. 8 at 96. Her funeral will probably be broadcast stay to greater than 200 international locations and territories worldwide and screened to crowds in parks and public areas throughout the U.Okay.
Law enforcement officials from across the nation will probably be on obligation as a part of the most important one-day policing operation in London’s historical past.
On the night earlier than the funeral, King Charles III issued a message of because of folks within the U.Okay. and around the globe, saying he and his spouse Camilla, the queen consort, have been “moved beyond measure” by the massive numbers of people that have turned out to pay their respects to the queen.
“As we all prepare to say our last farewell, I wanted simply to take this opportunity to say thank you to all those countless people who have been such a support and comfort to my family and myself in this time of grief,” he mentioned.
For the funeral, Elizabeth’s coffin will probably be taken from Westminster Corridor, throughout the street to Westminster Abbey, on a royal gun carriage drawn by 142 Royal Navy sailors. The identical carriage was used to hold the coffins of late kings Edward VII, George V and George VI, and of Churchill.
The service, within the Gothic medieval abbey the place Elizabeth was married in 1947 and topped in 1953, will probably be attended by 2,000 folks starting from world leaders to well being care staff and volunteers.
Mourners began arriving to take their seats shortly after 8 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT). Dignitaries have been arriving later, with many heads of state gathering at a close-by hospital to be pushed by bus to the abbey. Hours earlier than the service was set to start, London authorities mentioned all viewing areas alongside route of the funeral procession have been full.
The funeral will finish with two minutes of silence adopted by the nationwide anthem and a piper’s lament, earlier than the queen’s coffin is taken in a procession ringed by items of the armed forces in costume uniforms, with the queen’s youngsters strolling behind, to Wellington Arch close to Hyde Park.
There, it is going to be positioned in a hearse to be pushed to Windsor for one more procession alongside the Lengthy Stroll, a three-mile (five-kilometer) avenue resulting in the city’s fort, earlier than a committal service in St. George’s Chapel. She is going to then be laid to relaxation along with her late husband, Prince Philip, at a non-public household service.
Central London was already packed earlier than daybreak Monday with folks looking for out a chief viewing spot, and authorities warned that it will be extraordinarily busy.
U.S. President Joe Biden was amongst leaders to pay their respects on the queen’s coffin on Sunday as 1000’s of police, a whole bunch of British troops and a military of officers made remaining preparations for the funeral — a spectacular show of nationwide mourning that may also be the most important gathering of world leaders for years.
Biden known as Queen Elizabeth II “decent” and “honorable” and “all about service” as he signed the condolence guide, saying his coronary heart went out to the royal household.
Individuals throughout Britain paused for a minute of silence at 8 p.m. Sunday in reminiscence of the one monarch most have ever recognized. At Westminster Corridor, the fixed stream of mourners paused for 60 seconds as folks noticed the minute of reflection in deep silence.
In Windsor, rain started to fall as the group fell silent for the second of reflection. Some arrange small camps and chairs exterior Windsor Fort, spending the night time there to order one of the best spots to view the queen’s coffin when it arrives.
“It will all be worth it by 4 o’clock this afternoon,” mentioned Sally McCloud, a enterprise supervisor from close by Maidenhead. “We’re all here for one reason, whether it be raining or not raining. So I’m quite happy to be here and got a little bit of sleep. I’ve had a nice cup of coffee this morning and we’ll just wait, wait in the rain.”
Fred Sweeney, 52, who kitted out his spot with two Union flags on massive flagpoles, mentioned “it’s just one night and day of our lives. Elizabeth gave us – you know – 70 years.”
One no-show for Monday’s funeral will probably be Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose invitation drew criticism from human rights teams due to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi contained in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Saudi Arabia is anticipated to be represented by one other royal, Prince Turki bin Mohammed.
Danica Kirka, Samya Kullab and David Keyton contributed to this report.
Observe AP protection of Queen Elizabeth II at
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