The Queen

Queen's funeral: Military serve former Commander-in-Chief for final time

The Armed Forces have played a central role in the nation bidding farewell to its longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

About 4,000 UK and Commonwealth military personnel were on parade in London and Windsor for the Queen's funeral and committal service.

Her Majesty was the military's Commander-in-Chief for 70 years and in 1945, became the first female member of the Royal Family to join the Armed Forces in a full-time active role.

Roughly 140 Royal Navy sailors towed the carriage carrying the Queen's coffin to Westminster Abbey from Westminster Hall for Her Majesty's state funeral and then to Wellington Arch, before the coffin was taken by hearse to Windsor Castle for a committal service.

As the hearse approached Windsor, the Long Walk to the castle was lined with members of the Armed Forces on either side, stood in front of the public.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the Queen’s funeral procession in both London and Berkshire.

Members of the British Armed Forces served their former Commander-in-Chief for the final time as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II processioned through London.

Around 200 pipers and drummers of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas and the RAF led the procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral.

The King and his siblings, followed by the Prince of Wales, Duke of Sussex and Peter Phillips walked behind the carriage as it travelled to Westminster Abbey.

UK Armed Forces personnel taking part in the funeral procession of Queen Elizabeth II
All military services were represented in the procession (Picture: MOD).

The King wore his Royal Navy uniform, with other royals also wearing military uniform

The Queen’s coffin was flanked by a bearer party, escort party and pall bearers, with the procession featuring two marching detachments of the Household Cavalry in their breast plates and plumed helmets and a Household Division party.

Soldiers of the Queen's Company from the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards acted as the bearer party because of their unique association with the monarch.

A tri-service guard of honour founded by the Royal Navy, Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards and the King's RAF's Colour Squadron formed up along the route and were joined by the Band of the Royal Marines.

The short procession from Westminster Hall, to the sound of bagpipes and with Big Ben tolling, took around eight minutes.

Watch: Military central to Queen's funeral procession to Westminster Abbey.

As the coffin entered the abbey, the Choir of Westminster Abbey sang lines, known as The Sentences, from Revelation 14:13, set to music written by William Croft and used at every state funeral since the early 18th century.

During the service, groups of soldiers marched in units on Horse Guards Parade and Horse Guards Road, before spacing themselves out in front of the crowd, lining the road and path, while the Queen's funeral radio broadcast played in the background.

State trumpeters from the Household Cavalry sounded the Last Post following the Archbishop of Canterbury's commendation over the Queen's coffin and a blessing pronounced by the Dean.

A two minute silence then fell across the country before Reveille was sounded by the trumpeters and the National Anthem was sung by the congregation.

The Queen’s funeral drew to a close with the Queen’s Piper, Warrant Officer Class 1 (Pipe Major) Paul Burns, playing the traditional lament Sleep, Dearie, Sleep. 

Watch: Queen's hearse leaves London after military-led procession and heads for Windsor Castle.

Her Majesty's coffin was then carried from Westminster Abbey to be placed on the State Gun Carriage.

As the bearers moved slowly through the abbey to place the coffin once more on the gun carriage, they were followed in procession to the Great West Door by the King and Queen Consort along with other members of the Royal Family.

The Queen's coffin, followed by the King, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, Duke of York and the Princess Royal, then began its procession towards Wellington Arch after it was placed back onto the State Gun Carriage which was again pulled by naval personnel.

The route was lined by 1,000 Armed Forces personnel from Westminster Abbey to the top of Constitution Hill at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates.

Gun salutes were fired every minute from Hyde Park by The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, as Big Ben tolled throughout the duration of the procession.

Watch: Royal Navy sailors pull Queen's coffin to Westminster Abbey for state funeral.

The procession included dozens of detachments from the UK Armed Forces and the militaries of the Commonwealth.

Serving and former service chiefs, senior service chaplains, other senior military representatives from the three services and representatives of other units with a special relationship to the Queen were all involved too.

Members of the Blues and Royals and The King's Life Guards, the regiments of the Household Cavalry, lined up outside Hyde Park Barracks on South Carriage Drive and senior offices gave the salute as the hearse carrying the Queen's coffin drove past and the troops stood to attention.

The solemn procession marched at 75 paces to the minute, a speed reserved for funerals, as it travelled towards Wellington Arch where the coffin was transferred to the State Hearse.

Members of the royal family watched on as the bearer party lifted the coffin from the State Gun Carriage and loaded it into the back of the vehicle.

The coffin then embarked on its final journey from Wellington Arch to Windsor Castle for a committal service.

As the hearse approached Windsor, the Long Walk to the castle was lined with members of the Armed Forces on either side, stood in front of the public.

The bearer party was once again the same members of the Queen’s Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

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.

The Archbishop of Canterbury then concluded the service with a blessing before the congregation sang the national anthem.

The Queen’s coffin was then lowered into the Royal Vault at St George’s Chapel.

Her Majesty was finally laid to rest with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh during a private evening burial service attended just by close family.

The family's website said it was conducted by the Dean of Windsor: "The Queen was buried together with The Duke of Edinburgh, at The King George VI Memorial Chapel."

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