LONDON — At 8 a.m. local time, the doors of Westminster Abbey opened for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Sept. 8 at 96.
Members of the royal family, world leaders and the public gathered at the historic church that meant so much to the late monarch. It was where she married Prince Philip in 1947 and where she was crowned in 1953.
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Guests included U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden; Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska; French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron; King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, and many more.
Many royals paid tribute to the queen and royal household by rewearing outfits from their closets — some had sentimental value to them such as Queen Rania of Jordan’s, meanwhile some were a nod to the late monarch’s fashion credentials of repeating outfits.
British fashion designer and businesswoman India Hicks was one of the early guests to arrive at Westminster Abbey with her mother Lady Pamela, who had been a bridesmaid at the queen’s wedding and then later a lady-in-waiting to the monarch.
Brigitte arrived arm in arm with her husband, Emmanuel, wearing a simple black dress with an open double-breasted coat believed to be from Louis Vuitton, the French luxury brand that she relies on when on official duties. She had black leather gloves on and was holding a square clutch bag with a gray trim.
The FLOTUS opted for a bespoke Schiaparelli blazer and skirt set that she has previously worn — for the occasion of the funeral, the buttons have been altered. Instead of wearing a hat like the other guests, she wore a simple thin headband with a black bow.
Catherine, Princess of Wales wore a black coat dress by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, which she owns in white, which she previously wore to last year’s G7 held in Cornwall, south west of England. She wore the queen’s Japanese pearl choker that consists of four strands of pearls that are joined by a diamond clasp with a black hat accompanied by a netted veil.
The pearls were a gift from the Japanese government that the queen had commissioned into a necklace inspired by her daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. The queen wore the choker for the first time in the early 1980s, which was later loaned to Diana in 1982 for a state visit to the Netherlands.
Middleton wore the choker for the first time in 2017 to the 70th wedding anniversary dinner of the queen and Prince Philip.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrived wearing a black cape dress by Stella McCartney, the designer of her wedding reception dress. She has previously worn a similar style dress in navy by the same designer.
She wore a Stephen Jones curvated hat with no veil and pearl earrings that are understood to be a gift from the queen for their first joint engagement together after she married Prince Harry in 2018.
Queen Rania paid a tribute to the queen by wearing an outfit from 2001, when she met with the monarch and her late husband for a state visit.
Queen Letizia of Spain followed behind her in a black Carolina Herrera dress with a top-hand Giorgio Armani bag in hand.
First Lady Zelenska paid her respects to the queen by attending with the Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.K., Vadym Prystaiko. Prior to the funeral service, she met with Middleton at Buckingham Palace.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands paid her own tribute to the queen by wearing a diamond and pearl brooch on the right side of her belted coatdress.
The newly appointed British Prime Minister Liz Truss paid her respects to the queen by reading a passage from the Bible. Soon before the monarch passed away, Truss met with her at Balmoral Castle in Scotland to be approved for her role in government.
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended the funeral with his wife, Carrie who wore a black Karen Millen dress with gold button detailing and a buckle belt. She carried a black Grace Han bag that Middleton also owns.
Middleton’s parents, Michael and Carole also joined the royal family at the church service. Carole wore a black silk and wool coatdress from Catherine Walker, a designer who often collaborates with Princess Diana and now works closely with the new princess.
Charlene, Princess of Monaco who has been out of the royal limelight in the past year arrived with her husband, Prince Albert of Monaco who wore his military uniform.
Princess Beatrice and Eugenie attended the funeral service at Westminster Abbey together.
Beatrice wore a cropped dinner jacket from The Kooples with a black Louis Vuitton dress believed to be the same as First Lady Macron’s.
Eugenie dressed in a black Day Birger et Mikkelsen coat with gold button detailing and carried the mini Diana handbag from Gabriela Hearst.
King Charles III was accompanied by his siblings and children Prince Edward, Andrew, William and Harry, and Princess Anne for the procession at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. They all wore their military outfits apart from Andrew and Harry, who are no longer working members of the firm.
For the funeral, the queen’s coffin arrived covered with the Royal Standard flag, which features three gold lions for England, a red lion for Scotland and a harp for Ireland. Sitting atop the flag was the Imperial State Crown, which has the Cullinan Il diamond, cut from the largest diamond in the world.
After the church service at Westminster Abbey, the queen’s coffin traveled to St George’s Chapel for a private family service at Windsor Castle, where the queen will be laid to rest with her husband Prince Philip.
The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. David Hoyle, who said: “With gratitude we remember her unswerving commitment to a high calling over so many years as queen and head of the Commonwealth. With admiration we recall her life-long sense of duty and dedication to her people.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, preached the sermon and lead the commendation.
On Wednesday Sept. 21, a memorial service for the queen will be held in Washington, D.C. Invitations for the event went out on Thursday to former presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their spouses.
London was quiet on Monday morning before the funeral began, with only a few shops and cafés open. The day was designated as a national holiday, and many central London retailers made the decision to shut.
A number of screens were set up in Hyde Park, across London and the rest of the U.K. so that members of the public could follow the funeral service, which was televised. On the roads around central London, dozens of city workers helped direct the flow of people to the various screening sites.
Despite the large crowds, everything was organized and calm. The English are known the world over for their ability to wait patiently, and form a queue.
There were lots of families and children, people wearing the Union Jack flag, and others carrying bouquets of flowers for the queen. Tourists, phones in hands, filmed their surroundings alongside the multiple journalists, photographers and broadcasters who were reporting live.
In Hyde Park, thousands of people gathered to watch the funeral. People were asked to sit on the ground to allow the people behind them to watch. People chanted, prayed and sang, and the mood was quiet and respectful.
In Hyde Park, those watching the funeral also observed the two minutes of silence at the end of the funeral, and then broke into applause right afterward. Some sang “God Save the King,” and cheered.
A young couple, Maisie and Tommy, came to London with their two small children. They told WWD they weren’t sure what to do exactly, but knew they wanted to be in London and watch the funeral surrounded by others, and not at home alone. It was the first time their kids saw the British capital.
That seems to be the thought process for many people. They didn’t know exactly how to participate in such an historical moment, but felt they needed to be in London and come out in person to say farewell to the late monarch.
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