Depicted In these two pictures is the beginning of the proceedings outside the Palace of Westminster. Above, the coffin of King George VI is put in the gun carriage by eight officers, while the Marines who would pull the coffin through London bow. Below, Queen Elizabeth II walks out of Westminster Hall towards the Irish State Coach on the beginning of the long and lengthy procession.
The guest list at the funeral of HM King George VI was to be marked by a sense of homage to a war hero, a man who had helped to get the world rid of the nazi evil. Up to ten heads of state attended the ceremony, including seven monarchs. The old HM King Haakon VII of Norway was keen to attend the funeral of his ally, even if having to be taken in carriage instead of walking after the Queen’s carriage, given his age. He was accompanied to Britain by his son and daughter-in-law, TRH Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, as well as by the hereditary couple's daughter, HRH Princess Astrid.
HRH the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, accompanied by her husband, HRH Prince Felix, was one of those whose links to the British Royal Family ended extremely strengthened at the end of the war and she was keen to be present at the funeral of King George. She was. So were HM the Queen Juliana and HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, that had been present at the King’s coronation in 1937, before Queen Juliana’s accession to the Dutch throne. During the war the Dutch Royal Family found exile in Canada and Queen Wilhelmina headed a war cabinet during her exile in London.
Walking behind the Irish State Coach, from left to right: first line – HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, HRH the Duke of Gloucester, HRH the Duke of Windsor and HRH the Duke of Kent; second line – the Major-General Howard-Vyce, the Colonel St-George, the Lord Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma and the Duke of Norfolk; third line – HM the King of Sweden, HM the King of the Hellenes, HM the King of Denmark, HE the President of the French Republic; fourth line – HE the President of the Turkish Republic, HM the King of Irak and HE the President of the Yugoslav Republic; fifth line – HIH the Crown Prince of Ethiopia, HRH the Crown Prince of Norway and HRH the Crown Prince of Jordan; sixth line: HRH Prince Ali Reza of Iran, HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, HRH Prince Felix of Luxembourg and HRH Prince Albert of Liège.
Other allies and friendly heads of state present were HM King Feisal II of Iraq, TM King Pavlos I and Queen Frederika of the Hellenes, TM King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark, TM King Gustaf VI Adolf and Queen Louise of Sweden, the President Vincent Auriol of the French Republic, the President of the Turkish Republic and the President of Yugoslav Republic. TM King Mihaï and Queen Anne of Romania and TM King Petar II and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia did also attend the funeral but the two former sovereigns did not walk behind the coffin. The heirs to the throne and princes walking behind the coffin included, apart of Crown Prince Olav, HIH Crown Prince Asfa Wossen of Ethiopia, HRH Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan, HRH Prince Ali Reza of Iran, HRH Prince Albert of Belgium, Prince of Liège and HRH Prince Axel of Denmark.
The absence of the new King Baudouin in London actually began a political contestation of the Belgian sovereign in Brussels, because it was understood he had to attend as recognition for King George VI’s role during World War II. Nevertheless, Palace courtiers convinced the King to stick to the protocol that had it that a sovereign could not attend a state event in a country where he had not been in state visit before. Despite the pressure in Belgium, but from the people and the political class, the King sent his brother to represent him, something that would mark a certain coldness in the relations between the Royal Family in the following years.
Almost the whole British Royal Family was present at the funeral, including TRH the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, HRH the Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, HRH the Duke of Kent, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, HRH the Duke of Windsor, HRH Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood and HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. Missing, apart of Queen Mary, were TRH Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael of Kent, and HRH the Duchess of Fife. Other lower members of foreign royal families were also present. Britain's closest war ally, the President of the United States of America, was represented by Mr. Dean Acheson, the Secretary of State.