Queen Elizabeth II was “the only constant in a volatile world,” wrote the New York Times the day after the monarch’s death. For the British, however, the term “constans” does not fully reflect the meaning of the queen.
“When St. Paul was looking for a word that would express the profound mystery of death, and the hope and courage with which we meet it, he chose not steadfast, but steadfast,” said the Reverend David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster in his funeral sermon.
It is this steadfastness that Elizabeth II exercised for 70 years as a throne that has led hundreds of thousands of Britons to make pilgrimages to Balmoral, St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Buckingham Palace, and now, of course, Westminster Hall since her death. The coffin will be there until half past six on Monday morning local time. Four hours later, the Queen will be transported to Westminster Abbey opposite, and a memorial service will begin at 5:00 PM. 11.
Finally, on Monday evening, in the chapel of Windsor Castle, the monarch will find his final resting place, next to Prince Philip, who died last April. “Then great-grandmother and great-grandfather will be together again,” as the little prince Louis explained to his mother Catherine, Princess of Wales.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that, in addition to regret, the British are overwhelmed by a bit of fear these days. The death of the queen marks the end of an era. What’s next? Charles III’s seizure of power is much more than a matter of succession. It occurs at a time of great political, economic and even cultural uncertainty.
When the ten-day period of mourning ends on Tuesday, the topics of inflation, Brexit and the war in Ukraine will return to the kingdom. If a commemoration could unite a nation for a few days, the old rift will remain as it used to be. Is it between the Tories and the opposition, between the Scots and the English, between the island and the mainland.
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Of course, there is also a big question mark hanging over the Windsor house. King Charles III won over his subjects in the first days of his reign. He and Camilla, the consort queen, were surprisingly accessible to the bereaved.
Karol’s speeches were brilliant rhetorically, they showed emotions previously unknown to him. However, everyone knows that Harry he keeps in a drawer an autobiography that is due out later this year, which the palace fears. Brother Andrzej claims that he was disfellowshipped because of his friendship convicted of child molestation. And many subjects have less and less understanding of the fact that they are not gaining money, but the royals have plenty of it. Meanwhile, in the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations, there is growing dislike of the king from faraway England.
This weekend, however, only goodbye matters. The British stage it like no other nation can. From September 8, the country is in mourning blackness. Everyone – from the royal family to the BBC presenters to the hundreds of thousands waiting patiently in line along the River Thames. So many want to see the coffin at Westminster Hall that on Friday you had to wait at least 14 hours (currently 24 hours).
Steadfastness is rewarded. The atmosphere at Westminster Hall takes your breath away. The nearly 1000-year-old hall is immersed in awe-inspiring silence. Time stands still here, although the many thousands who pass by the queen’s coffin only have a few moments to say goodbye. In this place, which has seen so much, there is an atmosphere of infinity and finite at the same time.
A young woman bows before the coffin draped with the royal banner and slowly walks towards the exit. Then he turns around again and makes the sign of the cross. And waving to the queen one last time.
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