There’ll be a time for the Lords and Ladies, the great and the good and for pomp and circumstance, but this was the people’s service of remembrance.
The Queen’s love of family and her enduring commitment to duty were honoured at simple ceremony of prayer and reflection at St Paul’s Cathedral.
There were high-profile mourners – including prime minister Liz Truss, opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer and London Mayor Sadiq Khan – but 2,000 members of the public too.
They queued to take their place under Sir Christopher Wren’s famous dome, many dressed in casual clothes, some carried babies in slings, but all were united in their grief.
Tracey Hill, 57, said: “It was a beautiful service, very calm and poignant. We heard the address from our new King. The Queen was like an extended member of my family, I’ve known her my whole life and I felt like this was something I had to do.
“She impacted everyone’s life, with her grace and calmness and the dignified way she went about her duty.”
Richard Lingard, 51, brought his five-year-old son to the service and plans to be one of the hundreds of thousands expected to file past the Queen’s coffin when it lies in state at Westminster Hall next week.
“The Queen is an icon and her passing his incredibly sad,” he said. “I decided I had to come down and pay my respects.”
Luke Miller, the Archdeacon of London, added: “It was an extraordinarily moving service with a very powerful tribute from the Bishop of London, teaching us about how the wellspring of the Queen’s service was her Christian faith.”
No members of the Royal Family were present at the service, as the Dean Designate Andrew Tremlett gave thanks for the Queen’s ‘devotion to all her people’.
Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered the address and blessing respectively.
And Truss read from Romans: “We do not live to ourselves and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.”
The focus will switch on Saturday from high church to matters of state, as the Accession Council will meet at St James’ Palace to formally proclaim Charles as King Charles III.
The new monarch will then meet with the Privy Council and hold an audience with the prime minister and her cabinet.
Meanwhile in Parliament, MPs will gather to take an oath of allegiance to the new King.
Featured image courtesy of the BBC