The small but very impressive funeral cortege left the Palace of Westminster shortly before 11.30 am on Tuesday, the 9th April 2002, the day of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Motherís Funeral. As hundreds of thousands lined the streets, the gun carriage bearing the coffin of the Queen Mother was conducted to the Abbey to the amazing sound of hundreds of pipes and drums, marking her very Scottish links. The most senior members of the Royal Family followed on foot, led by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
Three pictures of the arrival of the coffin at Westminster Abbey: on the left, a magnificent view of the Abbey with the gun carriage stopped in front of it. In the centre, the procession moves towards the Quire and, on the left, it arrives in the transept of the Abbey. While the coffin is being placed in the catafalque, four officers deliver four cushions bearing the Queen Motherís Insignia, including the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
The service combined music, readings, prayers and a sermon recalling some of the special qualities of The Queen Mother. In his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey, spoke movingly of The Queen Mother's warmth and vitality. "Like the sun, she bathed us in her warm glow. Now that the sun has set and the cool of the evening has come, some of the warmth we absorbed is flowing back towards her... If there is one verse of scripture which captures her best, it is perhaps the description of a gracious woman in the final chapter of the book of Proverbs. Strength, dignity and laughter - three great gifts which we honour and celebrate today."
The service ended with the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille, the proclamation of the formal styles and titles of The Queen Mother by the Garter King of Arms, and the singing of the national anthem, before the coffin was taken down the nave in a slow procession. Outside the Abbey, the pipers and drummers played a lament as the coffin was placed in the hearse, before beginning its final journey to Windsor.
As the funeral cortege made its way down The Mall, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight made two fly-pasts over Buckingham Palace. The two Spitfires and a Lancaster bomber paid tribute to the key role played by The Queen Mother with King George VI in boosting national morale during the Second World War. Members of the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace turned out to watch the hearse as it made its way to Windsor for the private service of committal and burial. Several members of foreign royal families attended the funeral, alongside a congregation of 2000 guests from Britain and the Commonwealth.