First, prior to the start of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, the bell at Westminster Abbey began to toll 96 times — once a minute until the funeral began — which marked each year of her life.
Her coffin was draped with the Royal Standard, which is a flag that represents the Sovereign and the United Kingdom. The flag consists of three lions passant for England, a rampant lion for Scotland, and a harp for Ireland. Usually, the flag was flown when the Queen was staying at one of her palaces or when she was on official business in her car or plane.
The crown on top of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was the Imperial State Crown, which was made for the coronation of her father, King George VI, in 1937.
The crown is made of gold, 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls, and 4 rubies. And according to CBS News, the pearls belonged to Queen Elizabeth I, thus creating “an incredible link with history.”
Then, alongside the crown, you can see the Sovereign’s Scepter and Orb, which was said to symbolize Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship “with God and also power.” The scepter you see on her coffin has been used at every coronation since 1661.
The bouquet of flowers on top of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin were gifted by King Charles III. The flowers included garden roses and myrtle grown from Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding bouquet from 1947.
The note inside the bouquet was from King Charles III, and it read, “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.” The “R” in Charles’ signature stands for “Rex,” which means “King” in Latin. This is the traditional signature for the monarch going all the way back to the 12th century.
Also, as Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was making its way to the service at Westminster Abbey, many people pointed out that you could spot a tiny spider on the card King Charles III left in the flowers from the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II’s family walked behind her coffin as it made its way inside Westminster Abbey. Notably, Prince George of Wales and Princess Charlotte of Wales were present alongside their parents — William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales. This makes George and Charlotte the youngest members of the royal family to attend a state funeral in recent memory, with neither of them attending Prince Philip’s state funeral in April 2021.
If you look closely, you can see that Princess Charlotte wore a small diamond horseshoe brooch, which was a nod to her great-grandmother’s love of horses. According to People, the brooch was given to Charlotte by Queen Elizabeth II.
Meanwhile, Catherine, Princess of Wales — which is Kate Middleton’s new title following Elizabeth’s death — notably wore a four-strand pearl choker, which was from the Queen’s personal collection. Kate wore the necklace to Prince Philip’s funeral as well.
Also, Queen Elizabeth II’s four-strand pearl choker was worn by Princess Diana in 1982 for a state banquet at Hampton Court Palace.
The earrings, which are Bahrain pearl drop earrings, that Kate wore to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral were originally a gift to the Queen for her wedding in 1947. Kate has worn the earrings on several occasions in the past as well.
Like Kate, Meghan Markle’s jewelry for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral was also significant. Meghan’s diamond and pearl earrings were a gift from the Queen in 2018 for her wedding, and she previously wore them for her appearance alongside Queen Elizabeth II that same year.
The other notable outfit from Queen Elizabeth II’s Westminster funeral was Prince Harry’s, who wore a morning suit instead of his military uniform. Prince Harry notably withdrew from his role as a working royal, and therefore was not allowed to wear his military uniform to the state funeral. Prince Andrew, who was also stripped of his royal duties and military titles, wore a suit as well.
Several notable world leaders attended the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey. However, the person in attendance who caused the most chatter online was actor Sandra Oh, who attended alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Sandra was appointed to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honors. She was in attendance as a member of the Canadian delegation.
The state funeral service included several readings of hymns that were significant to Queen Elizabeth II, one of which was “The Lord’s My Shepherd,” which was sung at her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip got married in Westminster Abbey, where her funeral service took place.
Toward the end of the state funeral service, bagpipes began playing. The Queen’s Piper, aka Pipe Major Paul Burns, played “Sleep, Dearie, Sleep.” Almost every morning, Queen Elizabeth II was woken up by bagpipes at 9 am for 15 minutes, thus giving this moment a poignant significance. The inclusion of Pipe Major Paul Burns was reportedly a personal request from the Queen.
As the funeral procession passed Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II’s official residence in London, over 100 Buckingham Palace employees stood outside as the Queen’s hearse went by, with some reportedly bowing and curtseying.
Queen Elizabeth II’s beloved corgis, Muick and Sandy, could be seen outside Windsor Castle as they waited for the funeral procession to arrive.
Also, Emma, Queen Elizabeth’s Fell pony who she owned for 26 years, was stationed alongside The Long Walk, aka the avenue leading to Windsor Castle that the Queen’s funeral procession traveled down.
Following the funeral at Westminster Abbey, Queen Elizabeth II was taken to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the Committal Service, where her coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, which is the resting place of several former British monarchs.
The order of service for Queen Elizabeth II’s Committal Service was reportedly planned by the Queen for years. She chose all of the hymns except for the very last one, which was selected by King Charles III.
Inside St. George’s Chapel, the Lord of Chamberlain broke his Wand of Office, aka the monarch’s ceremonial tool. The breaking of the wand symbolizes the end of the monarch’s reign and is the final act of pageantry before the Queen’s casket was lowered into the Royal Vault, and the wand will be buried with her.
In fact, this marked the first time the breaking of the Wand of Office was televised, considering the last time this tradition took place was at King George VI’s funeral in 1952.
Most of the music played during this service at St. George’s Chapel was composed by Sir William Harris, who was an organist at the chapel where Queen Elizabeth II spent most of her childhood.
At this service, King Charles III placed the Camp Color of the Queen’s Company on Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin. The Queen’s Company Camp Color of the Grenadier Guards was a flag specific for the Queen. After today, the crimson flag will be retired following her 70-year reign.
To conclude the service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, the Imperial State Crown, Orb, and Scepter were removed from the top of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin and placed on the altar. This symbolized the end of her reign.
The Royal Vault is not Queen Elizabeth II’s final resting place. After a private burial this evening, the Queen will be relocated to the King George VI Memorial Chapel, which she had commissioned in honor of her late father in 1962.
In fact, once Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, that marked the final time her coffin will be seen by the public.
And finally, Queen Elizabeth II’s final resting place will be among her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, her sister Princess Margaret, as well as her husband Prince Philip, who will be moved to the Memorial Chapel as well.