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King Charles, William and Harry join queen’s coffin procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall

Hundreds of thousands of mourners from across Britain will have their final chance to say farewell to Queen Elizabeth II as the late monarch lies in state for four days.
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LONDON — Departing Buckingham Palace for the last time, Queen Elizabeth II was escorted by a grand royal procession carrying her coffin atop a gun carriage and past London’s landmarks to the historic hall where she will lie in state until her funeral next week.

Her son Charles, the new king, walked behind the coffin along with his siblings, while Princes William and Harry walked side by side.

Cloaked by the royal standard and adorned by her crown, the queen's coffin was flanked by uniformed soldiers along a ceremonial route lined by flags and vast crowds in the British capital, with Big Ben tolling and guns firing every minute.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners from across the country will then have their final chance to file past at Westminster Hall and say goodbye to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.



Here’s what to know for Wednesday:

  • The queen's coffin was taken in a gun carriage procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Princes William and Harry joined their father, the queen's other children and more royals in following the queen's procession.
  • A short service was led by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury — the head of the Church of England and the ceremonial leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion — assisted by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle.
  • The public has started filing past the queen's coffin to pay their final respects, with hundreds of thousands expected to say their farewells in the following days.


Follow here for live coverage.

 

11d ago / 5:44 AM UTC

11d ago / 4:36 AM UTC

William and Kate head to Sandringham to see tributes

The new Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, will visit Sandringham on Thursday to take in the floral tributes left in honor of Queen Elizabeth.

On Friday, the couple was joined by Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, at Windsor Castle to see a large flower memorial for their grandmother.

Another royal pair, Prince Edward and Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, will head to Manchester to view floral tributes and a book of condolence.

11d ago / 3:51 AM UTC

11d ago / 2:54 AM UTC

Macron to new king: 'Link between France and the United Kingdom is unbreakable'

French President Emmanuel Macron reached out to England's new monarch Wednesday, offering King Charles III France’s condolences for the death of his mother.

On a social media post that detailed the call, Macron also confirmed that he would attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral Monday in London.

"The link between France and the United Kingdom is unbreakable," he said on Twitter. "We will continue to strengthen it, following the path laid out by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II."

Image: Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks after having visited the Eric Tabarly high school in Les Sables-d'Olonne on Tuesday.Ludovic Marin / Pool via AFP - Getty Images
11d ago / 1:25 AM UTC

11d ago / 12:18 AM UTC

Nine-hour wait and back pain 'worth it' to see queen, mourner says

Fiona Rankine, 61, of Milton Keynes, England, says her back is still hurting after a nine-hour wait Monday to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin.

Rankine traveled more than six hours to view the procession at Edinburgh, Scotland. When she arrived at Holyrood Palace, she picked a spot where she waited for hours anticipating the motorcade’s moving the queen’s coffin from the palace to St. Giles’ Cathedral.

“I just felt this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show my respects," she said.

Rankine said she felt certain that the thousands of mourners waiting with her shared her sentiment. She said there was a sea of silence and tranquility when the hearse went by with King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward walking behind.

“Although I didn’t come with anyone, you felt you had made new friends,” she said. “The moment we all got into St. Giles' was the most amazing and moving experience. It was so, so quiet. I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I got close to the coffin. It was so unreal that our beautiful queen was inside.”

Rankine said the waiting and the back pain were “all worth it” and that it will go down as an experience she will “never forget.” 

12d ago / 10:23 PM UTC

Kenya's new president: Commonwealth will work to ensure 'we leave nobody behind'

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s new president says the fact that Queen Elizabeth II assumed the role of Britain’s monarch while visiting Kenya 70 years ago is “very sentimental” for the people of his country.

William Ruto spoke as signed a condolence book for the queen at the British High Commission in Nairobi. He congratulated King Charles III, who assumed the throne after his mother's death.

Ruto was inaugurated Tuesday. At Wednesday’s signing, he also spoke about the evolving role of the Commonwealth, a political association made up primarily of former British colonies.

The 56-member association “is going to play a much more central role in the economies of our countries and making sure that we leave nobody behind,” Ruto said.

As monarch, Elizabeth was head of the Commonwealth, a role that also has now passed to Charles.

Image: William Ruto
Kenya's new president William Ruto signs the book of condolence for Queen Elizabeth II at the residence of Britain's High Commissioner, in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.Brian Inganga / AP
12d ago / 7:18 PM UTC

Polish lawmakers honor Queen Elizabeth II

Poland’s lawmakers have honored Queen Elizabeth II with a resolution that describes her as a “meaningful figure for the reborn, democratic Poland.”

The queen visited Poland in 1996 and addressed the country’s Parliament. She was awarded Poland’s highest distinction, the Order of the White Eagle.

The resolution approved Wednesday noted that she supported the nation’s accession to NATO in 1999 and to the European Union in 2004.

12d ago / 7:00 PM UTC

King Charles’ staff told during queen’s mourning period that they could lose their jobs

LONDON — Dozens of household staff members who served King Charles III while he was heir to Britain’s throne have been told they could lose their jobs, according to one of the United Kingdom’s leading labor unions, which said the move would be “heartless.”

Charles, who succeeded his mother on her death last Thursday, and Camilla, the queen consort, will move to the monarch’s main official residence, Buckingham Palace. That means the royal couple will leave Clarence House, Charles’ London home and office for decades. 

As a result, the Public and Commercial Services Union said in a statement, up to 100 employees, “including some who have worked there for decades, received notification that they could lose their jobs following his accession to the throne.” 

“We believe the decision to announce redundancies in the Royal Household during the period of national mourning is nothing short of heartless,” the statement said. 

Read the full story here.

12d ago / 6:52 PM UTC

Musicians call for end to ban on busking at London subway stations during national mourning

Britain's Musician's Union has urged the bosses of London’s public transport system to reverse a decision banning busking in subway stations during the period of national mourning for the queen.

Transport for London has shut its nearly 40 pitches, which span 25 stations in the capital, until the day of the queen's funeral Monday.

But in an open letter, the union called for the pitches to be reopened immediately, citing the financial impact on licensed performers, who they said were able to reach up to 3.5 million Tube passengers every day.

“The MU is saddened by the news of the death of the queen and joins the country in paying its respects,” it said. “However, we would encourage TfL to reverse this decision immediately, not least due to the impact it will have on the livelihood of its licensed buskers.”

12d ago / 6:23 PM UTC

Thousands line up to say goodbye

Image: The Nation Mourns The Death Of Queen Elizabeth II As Her Coffin Is Transferred To Westminster Hall.
The Houses of Parliament can be seen in the background and across the River Thames as people wait in line to pay their respects.David Ramos / Getty Images
Image:
Some dressed up ahead of the final goodbye. Petr David Josek / AP
Image:
People stand in line on the southern banks of the River Thames across from the Houses of Parliament. Petr David Josek / AP
12d ago / 6:21 PM UTC

Mourners file into Westminster Hall to pay their respects

Members of the public began filing into Westminster Hall on Wednesday evening to pay their final respects to Queen Elizabeth II, who is lying in state.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to say their farewells during the following days, and ahead of the funeral Monday.

Image:
The first members of the public pay their respects as the vigil begins around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall.Yui Mok / Pool via AP

12d ago / 4:50 PM UTC

More than 320 military personnel took part in procession

More than 320 military personnel took part in Wednesday's procession carrying the queen's coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster, according to the British Army.

Among the military personnel involved were 170 from the Household Division.

As the late monarch lies in state at Westminster Hall, "a continuous vigil" will be kept, the army said.

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is pulled by a Gun Carriage of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery. Aaron Chown / WPA Pool via Getty Images

Each period of 24 hours will be divided into four watches, it said. Except for the first and last, each of the 20 watches will last for six hours and within each watch, a vigil will last for 20 minutes, the army said.

12d ago / 4:37 PM UTC

William, Kate, Harry and Meghan inside the Palace of Westminster

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
Prince William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, inside the Palace of Westminster.Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
12d ago / 3:58 PM UTC

Royal family tweets aerial photo of procession

The royal family's official Twitter account marked today's procession with an aerial photo of the queen’s coffin being carried from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.

12d ago / 3:50 PM UTC

Sinn Fein leader to attend the queen's funeral

Michelle O’Neill, the vice president of Sinn Fein, will attend the queen's funeral, according to a spokesperson for the Irish republican party.

Her appearance signals how far Northern Ireland has come since the height of the “troubles,” the term used to describe three decades of violence between those who wanted Northern Ireland to join the Republic of Ireland and those who wanted it to remain part of the United Kingdom.

12d ago / 3:37 PM UTC

No pets, flowers or chairs: What you can't bring into Westminster Hall

Those looking to pay their respects to the queen have been warned that there is a strict list of items they can and cannot bring with them as they enter the Palace of Westminster.

Among the items they cannot bring are:

  • Bags larger than 40 centimeters x 30 centimeters x 20 centimeters (around 11.81 inches x 15.75 inches x 7.87 inches) in size.
  • Flasks or water bottles, except clear water bottles, which must be emptied before reaching security, and food and liquid of any kind.
  • Flowers and other tribute items, including candles, soft toys and photographs, as well as banners, placards, flags and marketing messages.
  • Chairs, folding chairs and other seating equipment.
  • Sharp items, “including knives, Swiss Army knives, scissors, cutlery and screwdrivers.”
  • A wide range of other items are also banned, including paint sprays, padlocks, chains, climbing gear, fireworks and whistles.
  • Finally, pets and other animals are not allowed to enter, with the exception of guide dogs, hearing dogs and other official assistance dogs.
Image:
People line up opposite the Palace of Westminster to bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth. Andreea Alexandru / AP
12d ago / 3:33 PM UTC

12d ago / 3:16 PM UTC

U.K. releases livestream of the 2.4-mile line of people waiting to pay respects to the queen

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The queen's subjects are getting a final chance to say farewell, with a long line already forming by those looking to pay their respects.

A livestream monitoring the growing line of people waiting to file past the queen's coffin is being broadcast online by Britain's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

The line is currently around 2.4 miles long, with London's Tate Modern being the closest landmark to the end of the line, according to the live tracker.

The line begins where Albert Embankment meets Lambeth Bridge in Central London, on the south side of the River Thames. From Albert Embankment, the line continues along the south bank of the Thames.

12d ago / 2:35 PM UTC

Biden speaks with King Charles III, White House says

President Joe Biden spoke with King Charles III to offer his condolences on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the White House said in a readout Wednesday.

"The President recalled fondly the Queen’s kindness and hospitality, including when she hosted him and the First Lady at Windsor Castle last June. He also conveyed the great admiration of the American people for the Queen, whose dignity and constancy deepened the enduring friendship and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom," the White House said.

Biden also "conveyed his wish to continue a close relationship with the King," the statement added.

12d ago / 2:32 PM UTC

Charles departs service to chants of 'God save the king'

King Charles and the queen consort have departed Westminster Hall, departing from New Palace Yard.

Shouts of "God save the king" could be heard as they drove off. The king could later be seen waving.

They will be traveling to either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House by car.

12d ago / 2:32 PM UTC


12d ago / 2:24 PM UTC

Archbishop of Canterbury opens service with a reading from the Bible

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby began the service at Westminster Hall with an opening prayer and reading from the Book of John, 14:1-6.

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you," it reads.

"I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Image:
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, leads a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II's coffin inside Westminster Hall.Oli Scarff / Pool via AP
12d ago / 2:10 PM UTC

The queen's coffin placed in Westminster Hall

The queen's coffin has been carried into Westminster Hall to the somber sounds of a live choir.

The coffin is being placed on the catafalque, which is the raised platform the coffin rests on, by the Household Cavalry and the King's Body Guard.

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
The coffin carrying Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall. Dan Kitwood / Pool via Getty Images
12d ago / 2:08 PM UTC

What music has been playing during the procession?

The procession carrying the queen's coffin to Westminster Hall will be an unforgettable moment for many — and it comes with a soundtrack.

The Band of the Scots Guards and the band of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest military bands in the world, played at least six different funeral marches during the procession.

The marches that were expected to be played are:

Beethoven — Funeral March No.1

Beethoven — Funeral March No.3

Mendelsohn’s — Funeral March

Chopin’s — Funeral March

Beethoven — Funeral March No.2

12d ago / 2:06 PM UTC

The queen was not a gentle figurehead for many in former colonies

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NEW DELHI — Just hours after the world learned that Queen Elizabeth II was dead, Twitter feeds across India exploded with angry demands for the repatriation of a precious diamond called the Kohinoor, which has become a symbol of Britain’s often bloody history of colonial conquest and rule.

The British government has denied stealing the Kohinoor diamond and has repeatedly refused to return it to India. And to millions across the Indian subcontinent, the diamond — one of the most famous in the world — has become a symbol of a colonial past.

The demands reflected anger over the history of colonization amid the outpouring of sympathy that followed Elizabeth’s death last Thursday at age 96. Among many residents of former British colonies, such as India and Kenya, the reaction to her death ranged from benign interest to anger and disdain.

At its height, the United Kingdom controlled the largest empire in history, ruling over an estimated 20% of the world’s population and occupying around a quarter of the Earth’s landmass. The era was marked by famines, massacres and grinding poverty in the resource-rich countries that were colonized by the British Empire.

Read full story here.

12d ago / 2:00 PM UTC

Mourners watch Queen Elizabeth's coffin move along the Mall

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
Crowds await the ceremonial procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday in London.Getty Images
12d ago / 1:51 PM UTC

What happens when queen's coffin arrives at Westminster Hall?

The procession carrying the queen's coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall is underway. Here's what happens once the queen's coffin arrives:

The coffin is set to enter the Palace of Westminster through New Palace Yard. It will then be carried to the catafalque by the Bearer Party, where the late monarch will lie in state.

King Charles, Princes William and Harry and other members of the royal family will follow the coffin into Westminster Hall, where a short service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by the Dean of Westminster.

Later, mourners will be able to file past and pay their respects, with thousands of people expected to make the journey to say farewell to Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

12d ago / 1:50 PM UTC

'Yogi' the horse helps lead gun team carrying queen's coffin

A horse affectionately known as Yogi is helping lead the gun team carrying queen's coffin.

Capt. Amy Cooper, 31, was selected by the commanding officer of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery to lead the gun team, according to Britain's defense ministry.

She is riding the horse, which has an official name of Lord Firebrand.

Cooper and her team were recently selected as the best gun team of 2021, and the queen presented the team with a silver plate, the defense ministry said.

12d ago / 1:49 PM UTC

Why Princes Andrew and Harry are not in military uniforms

As Prince Andrew walks beside King Charles III, Princess Anne and the Duke of Wessex in the funeral procession for his mother, he is the only one of the four siblings not to be wearing a military uniform.

The queen stripped Andrew of his military titles in January and a statement from the palace at the time said that he would no longer undertake royal duties. The decision came after a civil trial that accused him sexual abuse. He settled the case in February.

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
Prince Harry and Prince Andrew, not wearing military uniforms, walk behind the queen's coffin as it leaves Buckingham Palace on Sept. 14, 2022.Chris Jackson / Getty Images

He will, however, wear his military uniform during a final vigil in Westminster Hall, according to the king's spokesperson.

Walking behind his father and uncle, Prince Harry also did not appear in military uniform. He split from his family in February 2021, when he said he would no longer serve as a working member of the royal family, meaning he would stop participating in official duties.

12d ago / 1:44 PM UTC

Imperial State Crown sits atop coffin draped with Royal Standard

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
Daniel Leal / Pool via Getty Images

The yellow and red Royal Standard flag draped Queen Elizabeth II’s casket as it traveled from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday. On top of the adorned coffin sat the Imperial State Crown, which was placed on a purple velvet cushion alongside a wreath of flowers.

"The Imperial State Crown is the crown that the monarch wears as they leave Westminster Abbey after the coronation. It is also used on other state occasions including the annual state opening of Parliament," according to the Historic Royal Palaces website.

The crown is made of gold and set with2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls, and 4 rubies, it states. It further includes some of the most famous jewels in the collection, including the Black Prince’s Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire and the Cullinan II diamond.

"St Edward’s Sapphire, set in the center of the topmost cross, is said to have been worn in a ring by St Edward the Confessor and discovered in his tomb in 1163," according to the website.

12d ago / 1:40 PM UTC

King Charles and Prince William walk behind queen's coffin

Image: BRITAIN-ROYALS-QUEEN-DEATH
Britain's King Charles III and Prince William walk behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.Daniel Leal / AFP - Getty Images
12d ago / 1:34 PM UTC

King Charles and his siblings march in somber procession behind the queen

King Charles III and his three siblings marched in a silent and somber procession behind the queen’s coffin as it was taken from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where the queen will lie in state until her funeral Monday. 

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
Leon Neal / Getty Images

As thousands of mourners lined the route, Charles was joined by his sons, William and Harry, brothers Andrew and Edward and sister, Anne, and other members of the royal family and the military. 

Marching band music accompanied the procession, with Big Ben tolling at one-minute intervals and guns in Hyde Park fired.

12d ago / 1:30 PM UTC

Military members lead procession

The procession carrying the queen's coffin to Westminster Hall is underway.

The coffin was pulled by The King's Troops Royal Horse Artillery after being carried from the Bow Room in Buckingham Palace to the gun carriage. It will now be transported to Westminster Hall.

12d ago / 1:24 PM UTC

Read lying-in-state service of reception for queen

12d ago / 1:24 PM UTC

Over 1,000 stewards, volunteers and police on hand as thousands line up to pay respects

More than 1,000 stewards, volunteers, marshals and police will be on hand at any given time in London to help deal with the thousands of people expected to line up to pay their respects to the queen, according to No. 10 Downing St. officials.

Around 779 professional stewards will be on shift, assisted by around 100 volunteer marshals, 40 adult scouts, 30 members of the first aid nursing Yeomanry, in addition to police officers, officials said.

Members of the Red Cross will also be available to assist mourners, along with others, including sign language interpreters, they said.

12d ago / 1:21 PM UTC

Camilla outside Buckingham Palace

Image:
Britain's Camilla, the queen consort, arrives by car prior to the procession, which will carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London on Wednesday. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP
12d ago / 1:20 PM UTC

Procession of queen's coffin to get underway

The procession taking the queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall is about to get underway.

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
Union Flags line The Mall as police officers gather ahead of the procession for Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday in London.Leon Neal / Getty Images
Image: BRITAIN-ROYALS-QUEEN-DEATH
Units of the Household Cavalry and Household Division Foot Guards prepare at Buckingham Palace in central London on Wednesday, ahead of the ceremonial procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II.Daniel Leal / AFP - Getty Images
12d ago / 12:59 PM UTC

12d ago / 12:52 PM UTC

The Mall in London stands empty ahead of the queen's procession

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
Police officers take up positions along The Mall ahead of the ceremonial procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday in London.Victoria Jones / WPA Pool via Getty Images
12d ago / 12:43 PM UTC

Queen's lying-in-state will be livestreamed

The BBC will air a dedicated livestream of the queen lying in state for those who want to pay their respects, but who will not be able to make the journey in person.

"The service will be offered globally for those who want to pay their respects but cannot travel to London or are physically unable to queue," the broadcaster said.

The livestream will be available from 5 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET) on a number of platforms, including the broadcaster's homepage and internationally at bbc.com/news.

12d ago / 12:18 PM UTC

12d ago / 12:09 PM UTC

Petition calling for 'Queen Elizabeth Day' gains more than 100K signatures

A petition calling for "Queen Elizabeth Day" to be an annual bank holiday in the U.K. has gained more than 100,000 signatures.

The petition, launched on change.org, proposes that Sept. 8, the day the queen died, be made an annual holiday. As of early Wednesday, it had more than 117,000 signatures.

"Queen Elizabeth II is our longest reigning monarch, and arguably the nation’s, and the world’s most popular monarch," the petition states.

“In the words of President Macron, 'To you, she was your Queen, to us, she was THE Queen… the most constant symbol of Great Britain,'" it states.

12d ago / 11:54 AM UTC

A glimpse at Westminster Hall's storied history

The queen's subjects will get to pay their final respects to the late monarch in a building that has played a central role in Britain's history.

Westminster Hall was built in 1097 under William II, the son of William the Conqueror, and completed two years later. At the time, it was the largest hall in England, and probably the largest in Europe.

Image:
William II wanted Westminster Hall to convey his power and majesty.Dan Kitwood / AP

It was here that King Charles I's trial was held before he was executed in 1649. And it was here that King Charles III received the condolences of both houses of Parliament on Monday after the death of his mother.

At nearly 1,000 years old, Westminster Hall is the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate. Today, the Palace of Westminster serves as a meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of Parliament.

12d ago / 11:48 AM UTC

Crowds line up to see queen’s coffin procession and say final farewell

Along the banks of the River Thames in Britain's capital — past landmarks and despite gloomy skies — crowds have gathered ahead of the slow and somber royal procession that will take Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament.

Some of them have waited days to file past the late monarch when she lies in state under armed guard later in a continuous 24-hour operation at London’s historic Westminster Hall.

Vanessa Nanthakumaran was the first person to show up at the staging area across the river from Westminster Abbey, from which mourners are expected to file into the ancient building to say farewell to the only monarch most in the country will have ever known.

“I’m very happy that I’m going to be the first, but I didn’t set out to be the first,” said Nanthakumaran, 56, who said she is originally from Sri Lanka and now lives in London. She said she arrived at the spot near Lambeth Bridge around 11:30 a.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET).

“I just wanted to pay my respects and I knew there would be a lot of people who felt the same."

Read the full story here.

12d ago / 10:58 AM UTC

Preparations ahead of queen's journey from Buckingham Palace

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Members of the Household Cavalry walk along The Mall ahead of the procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London on Wednesday. Victoria Jones / AP
12d ago / 10:52 AM UTC

Ursula von der Leyen remembers queen as a 'legend' in her state of the union address

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen remembered the queen's ability to speak "to the soul of the whole world" in a state of the union address she delivered Wednesday.

“As we look around at the state of the world today, it can often feel like there is a fading away of what once seemed so permanent," she said. "And in some way, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II last week reminded us of this."

“She is a legend," von der Leyen said. "She was a constant throughout turbulent and transforming events in the last 70 years, stoic and steadfast in her service."

Image: FRANCE-EU-PARLIAMENT
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen paid tribute to the queen during her state of the union address in Strasbourg, France, on Monday. Frederick Florin / AFP - Getty Images

The European Commission president said the queen “found the right words for every moment in time,” from the World War II to the Covid pandemic.

"When I think of the situation we are in today, her words at the height of the pandemic still resonate with me," von der Leyen said.

"She said: 'We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us.'"

12d ago / 10:35 AM UTC

12d ago / 10:27 AM UTC

Japan says emperor and empress ‘asked’ to attend funeral, no plans for Kishida to attend

The emperor and empress of Japan will be asked to represent the nation at the queen's funeral, the country's main government spokesperson said Wednesday.

There are, however, no plans for other officials, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, to attend the proceedings in London, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said during a routine press briefing.

“The royal family of the United Kingdom and the imperial family of Japan have always had a close relationship,” the spokesperson said. “In particular, Queen Elizabeth had exchanges across three generations during her 70 years on the throne with the Emperor Showa, Emperor Emeritus and His Majesty the Emperor.”

The final decision on whether the Japanese royals will be attending the funeral will be made Friday, Matsuno said.

12d ago / 10:00 AM UTC

King arrives at Buckingham Palace

The king has arrived at Buckingham Palace, where he will prepare to lead a procession taking the queen's coffin from the palace to Westminster Hall. The queen will lie in state there for three days as people pay their respects.

A car appearing to carry the king could be seen heading up The Mall toward the palace after departing Clarence House, which has been his official residence for years.

Image: The Coffin Carrying Queen Elizabeth II Is Transferred From Buckingham Palace To The Palace Of Westminster
Charles arrived to greetings from mourners and well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.Carl Court / Getty Images

A crowd waiting outside the palace cheered and waved as the new monarch arrived.

12d ago / 9:53 AM UTC

Indian president to attend queen's funeral

Indian President Droupadi Murmu will attend the queen's funeral next week on behalf of the country, India's ministry of external affairs announced in a statement Wednesday.

“In the 70 years of reign of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, India-UK ties have evolved, flourished and strengthened immensely. She played an important role in the welfare of millions of people around the world as Head of the Commonwealth,” the statement read.

India, a former British colony, held a day of state mourning for the queen earlier this week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the queen as "a stalwart of our times" following her death.

World leaders from across the globe are expected to attend next Monday’s proceedings.

12d ago / 9:43 AM UTC

Tributes paid in Taiwan

Image: Asia Reacts To The Passing Of Queen Elizabeth II
A man signs a book of condolence on the death of Queen Elizabeth II at British Office Taipei as the world reacts to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday.Annabelle Chih / Getty Images
12d ago / 9:19 AM UTC

5 million people tracked queen's final flight, breaking record

A record-breaking five million people tracked the queen's final flight as her coffin was flown from Edinburgh to London on Tuesday, according to Flightradar24, an online plane tracking platform.

“Between web, apps, and live stream, 5 million people followed the flight from Edinburgh to RAF Northolt on Flightradar24,” the platform tweeted, referring to the Royal Air Force flight carrying the queen's coffin.

Up to six million people attempted to track the flight on the platform as the aircraft was taking off, but the influx of people destabilized the platform, according to a statement on its website.

“Based on our experience last month, we expected a large influx of users, but this immediate, massive spike was beyond what we had anticipated,” it added, referring to the over two million viewers who tracked U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial flight to Taipei in early August.

12d ago / 9:02 AM UTC

Procession for queen evokes memories of Diana

As Princes William and Harry join their father, the king, in today's procession taking the queen's casket from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, many will be reminded of a similar walk the two brothers took 25 years ago, as they marked the death of their own mother, Princess Diana.

William and Harry followed Diana's casket as it was driven through the streets of London during her funeral procession on Sept. 6, 1997.

UK - Princess Diana's Funeral - Royal Family
From left: Prince Philip, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles bow their heads behind Diana's casket during her funeral procession on Sept. 6, 1997. Robert Wallis / Corbis via Getty Images file

Harry later spoke about the distress he suffered during the procession, saying in a past interview with Newsweek: "No child should be asked to do that." He said the events of that day can still overwhelm him.

William and Harry also walked in the funeral procession for Prince Philip, who died last year at age 99.


12d ago / 8:38 AM UTC

Hong Kongers line up for hours to sign condolences book for queen

Hundreds of mourners in Hong Kong lined up for hours in record heat this week outside the city’s British Consulate to pay their respects to the queen.

The British consulate in the former colony on Tuesday extended opening hours for the queen’s condolences book to accommodate “the exceptional numbers wishing to pay respects to Her Late Majesty,” it said in a tweet on Tuesday.

The consulate also advised mourners to bring water and wear “appropriate clothing” as the wait could extend over three hours.

Many in Hong Kong still feel an affinity to the British crown. The city was under British rule for over 150 years until it was handed back to Beijing in 1997.

12d ago / 8:27 AM UTC

Australia names Sydney square in honor of the queen

Australia has named a new square in central Sydney in honor of the queen's life of service.

“We’re here to announce that where we are standing will become Queen Elizabeth II Place," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced at the site at Hyde Park Barracks on Tuesday.

“This is a great global city and we need to make the most of it, this plan will do that,” he added, saying the new plans will “commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth II.”

Albanese will leave on Thursday for London to join other world leaders for the queen's funeral next week.

12d ago / 8:26 AM UTC

Mourners join line to view Queen Elizabeth lying in state

Members of the public join the queue to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state ahead of her funeral in London on Wednesday.
Members of the public join the queue to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state ahead of her funeral in London on Wednesday.Stefan Rousseau / AP
12d ago / 8:24 AM UTC

Route for mourners lining up to pay respects at the Palace of Westminster

U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Thousands of mourners are expected to line up today to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II, who will lie in state at Westminster Hall until Monday.

The route for the approximately four-mile line will start at the Albert Embankment on the south side of the River Thames and continue all the way to Southwark Park, according to the U.K.’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, or DCMS.

Once mourners have passed through the start of the line, they’ll be led across Lambeth Bridge into Victoria Tower Gardens, where they’ll be put through airport-style security before they enter the palace. There will also be a separate accessible route for those who need it.

The state viewing will open to the public Wednesday at 5 p.m. (12 p.m. ET), and it will be open 24 hours a day until 6:30 a.m. Monday, when her funeral is expected to take place in Westminster Abbey.

Those planning to attend the viewing, especially those with medical conditions, “are encouraged to check the guidance, plan accordingly and be prepared for significant wait times, including possibly overnight," DCMS said. Over 1,000 volunteers and Metropolitan Police officers will be on the ground to assist mourners and keep them safe, DCMS said.

12d ago / 8:17 AM UTC

What to expect on Wednesday

The queen’s coffin will be taken in a gun carriage procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where the late monarch will lie in state on Wednesday.

Princes William and Harry are expected to join their father, the king, in the procession, along with other senior members of the royal family. 

Big Ben is expected to toll at one-minute intervals throughout the duration of the procession, while guns in Hyde Park are expected to be fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to deliver a short service once the queen’s coffin arrives at Westminster Hall. 

Later, the public will be allowed into Westminster Hall to file past and pay their respects to the late queen, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to line up over the next four days.