The Queen heads to her final resting place

·4-min read

Tens of thousands of people have lined the route taking the late Queen Elizabeth to her final resting place at Windsor Castle, throwing flowers towards the hearse and cheering as it departed the British capital following her state funeral.

Many thousands more crammed into central London to witness a ceremony of matchless pageantry attended by leaders and royalty from across the world, a fitting end for the United Kingdom's longest-serving monarch who won global respect during 70 years on the throne.

After the service, her flag-draped casket was pulled through silent streets on a gun carriage in one of the largest military processions seen in the UK involving thousands of members of the armed forces dressed in ceremonial finery.

They walked in step to funeral music from marching bands while in the background the city's famous Big Ben tolled each minute.

King Charles and other senior royals followed on foot.

The casket was taken from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, where it was transferred to a hearse to begin its journey to Windsor.

There the Queen was to be laid to rest alongside her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip.

Inside the majestic Westminster Abbey where the funeral was held, music played at the Queen's wedding in 1947 and her coronation six years later again rang out.

The coffin entered to lines of scripture set to a score used at every state funeral since the early 18th century.

The 2000-strong congregation included 500 presidents, prime ministers, foreign royal families and dignitaries including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, told the congregation that the grief felt by so many across the UK and the wider world reflected the late monarch's "abundant life and loving service".

"Her late majesty famously declared on a 21st birthday broadcast that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth," he said.

"Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen."

Among the crowds who came from around the UK and beyond, people climbed lampposts and stood on barriers and ladders to catch a glimpse of the royal procession.

Elizabeth died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle, her summer home in the Scottish highlands.

Her health had been in decline, and for months the monarch who had carried out hundreds of official engagements well into her 90s had withdrawn from public life.

However, in line with her sense of duty she was photographed just two days before she died, looking frail but smiling and holding a walking stick as she appointed Liz Truss as her 15th and final prime minister.

Such was her longevity and her inextricable link with the UK that even her own family found her passing a shock.

"We all thought she was invincible," Prince William told well-wishers.

"People of loving service are rare in any walk of life," Welby said during the funeral.

"Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases, those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten."

Among the hymns chosen for the service were The Lord's my Shepherd, sung at the wedding of the Queen and her husband Prince Philip in the Abbey in 1947.

Among the royal family following the casket into the Abbey was the Queen's great-grandson and future king, Prince George, aged nine.

Towards the end of the service, the church and much of the nation fell silent for two minutes.

Trumpets rang out before the congregation sang God Save the King.

Outside, crowds joined in and broke into applause when the anthem was over.

The Queen's piper brought the service to an end with a lament that faded to silence.

Afterwards, the coffin made its way through central London, past the Queen's Buckingham Palace home to the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, with the monarch and the royal family following on foot during the 2.4km procession.

From there, it was placed on a hearse to Windsor Castle, west of London, for a service at St George's Chapel.

This will conclude with the crown, orb and sceptre - symbols of the monarch's power and governance - being removed from the coffin and placed on the altar.

The Lord Chamberlain, the most senior official in the royal household, will break his "Wand of Office," signifying the end of his service to the sovereign, and place it on the casket.