LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest on Monday after a majestic state funeral that drew tens of millions of Britons together in a vast expression of grief and gratitude as they bid farewell to a sovereign whose seven-decade reign had spanned their lives and defined their times.
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It was the culmination of 10 days of mourning since the queen died on Sept. 8 in Scotland — a highly emotional period for her subjects, who have rarely been without her since she ascended to the throne at age 25 in 1952.
Her ceremonial funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral brought the nation’s current and former leaders together with representatives from more than 180 countries, reflecting her global stature and deep affection for Britain’s friends and allies.
President Biden and other world leaders paid tribute to her as a trailblazer, a unifier and an enduring symbol of the country she loved.
“She was one of the most beloved women in the world — not just in Britain, but around the world,” Mr Biden said in a video message played during the service. “And with good reason. She was kind. And she was strong. She celebrated our triumphs. She comforted us in our sorrows. And she inspired us with her courage.”
The funeral came when Britain was again sharply divided over its future, this time over Brexit. Many see the queen as a unifying force in a country that has been through so much upheaval in recent years.
“She was the rock of stability in a world that was constantly changing,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is facing intense pressure to resign over his handling of the pandemic. “And whatever life threw at her, she met it with amazing grace and courage.”
The funeral service lasted just over an hour and adhered strictly to coronavirus protocols, with attendees socially distanced and wearing face masks. The queen’s coffin, draped in her royal Standard and topped with her Imperial State Crown, rested on a specially designed Land Rover that she had helped design herself.
It was a moment of collective mourning for a queen who had been a constant presence in Britons’ lives for more than seven decades and an opportunity for the country to pay tribute to her extraordinary legacy.
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