Among a congregation of 2,000 people was an almost unprecedented collection of foreign royalty, heads of state, and politicians, while thousands of mourners lined the streets of the capital to witness the procession of Her Late Majesty’s coffin, followed by King Charles and other leading members of the royal family.
Figures from the world of horse racing, including John Warren, Gai Waterhouse, and the Jockey Club senior steward Sandy Dudgeon, were among the mourners inside Westminster Abbey.
Some may have privately recalled the words of the Queen Consort in her televised address from the previous evening when she spoke of the Thoroughbred as the Queen’s private realm.
She said: “She was able to escape to Sandringham. She had the stud next door. She could go every day, see her foals, work out, you know, the next meetings for the year. I think she always kept that as, you know, here private bit.
“You wouldn’t dare question her or argue with her on how a horse was bred or how it ran because you’d get a very steely blue-eyed look back again.”
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Pulled by massed ranks of Royal Navy ratings, the gun carriage bearing the Queen’s coffin was accompanied on the short trip from Westminster Great Hall to the abbey by the Massed Pipes and Drums of the Scottish and Irish Regiments.
The Dean of Westminster, Dr. David Hoyle, opened the service with a call to “recall her love for her family and her commitment to the causes she held dear.”
Following readings given by the secretary general of the Commonwealth Baroness Scotland, and the prime minister Liz Truss, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered the sermon in which he highlighted a speech made by Queen Elizabeth on her 21st birthday in which she swore devotion to serve for her whole life, “whether it be long or short.”
The archbishop said: “Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders have received the outpouring of love which we have seen.”
After an hour-long service that featured a wide variety of choral music and hymns, five buglers sounded the last post and, following two minutes of silence, the sovereign’s piper played a traditional lament, Sleep Dearie Sleep.
Many of the congregation bowed their heads as the eight bearers carried the Queen’s coffin back through the abbey and out to the waiting gun carriage.
Again the Queen’s four children formed an honor guard as the funeral procession made the journey past Buckingham Palace on its way to Wellington Arch—the crown and the royal standard shrouding the coffin standing out among the soldiers, sailors, and air personnel.
From there the coffin and the royal cortege were driven to Windsor for a committal service at 4 pm in Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel.
To mark the state funeral, all racing in Britain was canceled Monday and, in common with many other retailers, all the major betting chains closed their shops as a mark of respect.