Queen Elizabeth II's burial at St George's Chapel, Windsor

On the afternoon of September 19, local time, the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrived at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, where a burial ceremony was held. Members of the British royal family and some dignitaries and former dignitaries will attend the ceremony.


  St George's Chapel, built by King Edward III of England, is home to a number of late members of the British royal family, and Queen Elizabeth II's parents and sister Princess Margaret are buried here. Prince Philip, who is currently housed in the royal crypt at St George's Chapel, will be moved to be buried there with the Queen.


  On September 8, local time, Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. (Headquarters reporter Wang Mengliang Tao)


  Related reports


  Queen Elizabeth II's funeral held today: Britain bids farewell to the "Queen of the Century" (China News Weekly)


  On the morning of September 19, local time, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will be held at Westminster Abbey in London.


  As the world's longest-serving head of state and the oldest serving head of state, most of the glorious and sad moments of Queen Elizabeth II's career have left a deep impression on this church since her accession to the throne in 1952. Here she said goodbye to her father, King George VI, her sister, Princess Margaret, her mother, Queen Elizabeth, and her daughter-in-law, Princess Diana, who brought her into the greatest crisis of her life.


  In April last year, Queen Elizabeth II said goodbye to her husband Prince Philip, who has supported her for life. Less than a year and a half later, she died at Balmoral Castle, the royal residence in Scotland, on the afternoon of September 8. The legendary life of the "Queen of the Century" came to an end at the age of 96.

At Westminster Abbey, Queen Elizabeth II also vowed to dedicate her "short or long" life to the British people. Ultimately, she did reign "as long as most Britons can remember". The British "Guardian" pointed out that the long years have brought the Queen an unprecedented "sense of the times" to the British. Whether the monarchy needs to be maintained, and whether the royal family's huge expenditures should be maintained, is a topic of constant debate in the country. But when the Queen died, the whole of Britain realised that what united this fallen empire and torn society "was waiting for the royal family's funeral on a cold, foggy morning, gathering with friends and family to watch Charles and Dylan" The live broadcast of the princess, William and Kate's wedding is a time and time again to see the elderly Queen appear as usual, greeting Merry Christmas with a soft voice. The Queen is already in the daily life of every Briton."


  Changes in the Royal Family's "Representatives Close to the People"


  On February 6, 1952, Princess Elizabeth and her husband Philip were on vacation at a hunting lodge called Treetops in Kenya. That night, 7,000 kilometers away, Elizabeth's father, King George VI of England, died in his sleep. The princess' bodyguard wrote in her diary: "For the first time in history: a young girl climbs a tree and is a princess, and when she comes down, she becomes a queen."


  Without a transition period, the princess rushed back to London and was crowned Queen Elizabeth II. Five months later, Queen Elizabeth II completed her first round-the-world trip. Elegance, poise and poise are almost unanimous comments she gets. More than half a century later, her grandson William is still in shock: "She showed what she should have, and she's only 25 years old."

rom a political point of view, the Queen's job is not complicated. A splendid carriage delivered a "red box" containing reports of major affairs to her residence each morning, while taking away documents the Queen had seen over the past day. She sometimes ticks a few boxes, but usually doesn't write any comments. Since the "Revolution of 1640" that hanged the king, the British royal family and parliament have engaged in a power game for more than 200 years. When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne, constitutional scholars summed up the relationship between the two in one sentence: "Even if Parliament asks the Queen to sign the decree to hang herself, she can only sign it."


  However, all issues outside of government affairs are difficult problems for the Queen. When Elizabeth II was crowned, the royal family had no private life, and the monarch had to be flawless, although anyone who has read Shakespeare knows that Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace have no less gossip and scandal than the Houses of Parliament. The Queen's most important duty is to attend the full schedule of royal public events, deliver uncontroversial speeches, refrain from any potentially controversial moves, and make sure she doesn't end up in the tabloid headlines like her free-love uncle.


  Queen Elizabeth II persisted for 70 years, occasionally innovating. In April 2020, in the face of the new crown epidemic, the Queen gave an unprecedented fifth and final national special speech after her enthronement. She acknowledged the pain of family loss and economic hardship suffered by the British people during the epidemic, and used the lyric "We'll Meet Again" (We will meet again), which was sung across the country during World War II, to soothe people's hearts.


  Most of the time, the Queen just maintains absolute consistency in thousands of events and speeches. For such a choice made by the Queen and the royal family, Philip Murphy, a professor of history at the University of London, pointed out that it is of great significance for the stability of society. Therefore, the queen has never resisted this "boring duty", which is her sense of responsibility.


  However, since the Queen's accession to the throne, British society has never stopped questioning: if the monarch's duty is only to repeat the etiquette, does it still have value? In the 1950s and 1960s, with the rise of free thought, the British media abandoned the practice of "avoiding the royal family", and royal gossip filled the newspapers. In 1961, U.S. President Kennedy and the fashionable and friendly First Lady Jacqueline visited the United Kingdom, which almost caused a disaster of public opinion. The British media questioned that a queen who "seems to be living in the Victorian era" in comparison with Jacqueline, coupled with her family that does not touch the public and is riddled with scandals, is a symbol of Britain?


  Queen Elizabeth II never spoke about her psychology at the time. Before becoming a monarch, she was the "close-to-the-people representative" of the royal family. In 1947, when she and Philip were still a princess, the devastated Britain had just experienced the coldest winter in 50 years. The newlyweds instructed the royal staff to divide hundreds of tons of food from overseas territories in the name of "wedding gifts" into small packages in the back kitchen of Buckingham Palace and distributed them to the poorest families, each with the princess's Condolence letters.

In the face of many doubts at the social level, the queen decided to change her image and start with some small things. When Charles was 8 years old, the Queen chose a photographer and took a family portrait that was considered shocking at the time: the members of the royal family were not sitting in the studio, but stood leisurely and staggered among the bridges of Buckingham Palace. This "idyllic feeling" will become a unique symbol of Queen Elizabeth II in the next half century with Corgis, Land Rover Defender off-road vehicles and the vast mountains and fields. No one will see her as an old man sitting in the palace facing the red box. .


  Churchill's funeral in 1965 was another breakthrough. As the first Prime Minister after the Queen's accession, Churchill inspired Elizabeth II to think about the monarchy and the changing times, and Buckingham Palace often heard the laughter of the two talking. The Queen demanded that Churchill's funeral be of a scale "consistent with its historic status" and to break with the tradition of the monarch not participating in non-royal funerals by personally sending the "mentor" the final ride. Then, in 1969, the first royal documentary was released, and 400 million people around the world saw the Queen taking little Prince Edward to buy candy on the street, but found that there was not enough money...


  A complete turnaround occurred in 1997. On August 31, Princess Diana, who was "disgusted" with the royal family, died unexpectedly. Impressed by her beauty, concern for the weak and her tragic fate, the Queen issued a brief statement and went on holiday as usual as if nothing had happened. Clive Owen, author of "Queen Elizabeth II and Her Times," noted that the Queen initially thought she needed to be as "coldly rational" as ever about "bad news" involving the royal family. It was not until she witnessed the people's flowers flooding Buckingham Palace that she realized that the people needed empathy, not rationality, nor the royal rule of "the Queen is not in the palace, so the flag is not raised, so the flag cannot be flown at half-staff".


  The Queen chose to compromise, the flag was lowered at half-staff, and the plan prepared for the Queen Mother was also used for the funeral of the "Princess of the People", which was watched live by 2.5 billion people around the world. Later that year, the Queen admitted that a monarchy could not survive without the support of the people. Since then, the Queen and a growing number of the younger royals have begun to show their emotions to the public. Every Briton projects his attitude towards daily life onto the royal family, empathizing with the Queen for marriage, the growth of children, and the death of a loved one, to see how the Queen deals with the complicated royal scandals and family changes, and for her to be safe Walk the dog and breathe a sigh of relief.


  "After a long run-in, the British finally fully embraced the Queen as the 'grandmother' of the country, as a friend who accompanied everyone through the ups and downs of the times." Royal biographer Leslie Carroll told " China News Weekly pointed out, "Her son Charles III may never reach this height, because he will not have so much time in his advanced age."

'I took a risk with my queen'


  On September 8, 2022, Prime Minister Truss was informed of the Queen's death during his first parliamentary inquiry. At that time, she and the Labour leader received a small yellow note from the staff at the same time, and immediately left the venue together. Two hours later, the royal family announced the Queen's death.


  Two days ago, Truss had an audience with the Queen, becoming the 15th Prime Minister appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. This audience attracted much attention, firstly because the photos showed that the Queen's skin had obviously deteriorated, and secondly because Truss's gesture of greeting the Queen did not seem to be as standard as the "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher she admired. Reminiscent of the remarks made by the new prime minister to "abolish the monarchy" when he was young, the outside world is worried about the relationship between the royal family and the new government.

Historically, every British Prime Minister has asked the Queen to play a different role according to the needs of the new government. While early prime ministers wanted the queen to maintain the grace and majesty of an imperial monarch, later ones increasingly gave the royal family a modern touch. Prime Minister Wilson wants the Queen to respond in a more practical way to public opinion that the royal family is overspending, while Margaret Thatcher sees the Queen as a symbol of women's empowerment. In 1997, the Queen ushered in the first Prime Minister Blair who was seen as "possibly abolishing the monarchy". The Labour politician hoped that the Queen would sink to the public and use her influence to become a spokesperson for public opinion.


  The Queen carefully caters to the needs of modern "king makers". In 1986, The Sunday Times reported that the Queen was unhappy with Mrs Thatcher's domestic and foreign policymaking. Hours after the report was published, the Queen herself called the Prime Minister to assure that "everything in the report is false". In 1992, after the Windsor Castle fire, public opinion questioned whether the repair costs of nearly 40 million pounds should be borne by taxpayers. That year, the Queen took the initiative to ask the royal family to start paying taxes. In the next 20 years, the royal family's annual salary no longer has any increase.


  In her later years, the Queen increasingly reduced her elite-oriented royal engagements and spent more time talking to ordinary people everywhere. She often reads the letters the royal family receives in person, including tens of thousands of letters for help from around the country each year. After being told the letter had been forwarded to the authorities, those seeking help often thanked "Her Majesty's interest in helping us out". Blair later lamented that the Queen's understanding of the public's needs was sometimes even faster than her own, becoming "spiritual solace for those disappointed by the government".


  For these prime ministers, the Queen's diplomatic significance is also indispensable. After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Maya Yasanoff, a professor of history at Harvard University and an expert on British history, published a commentary in the New York Times, "Mourning the Queen, Not Her Empire", which caused great controversy. The review pointed out that people should not romanticize the era of the Queen, with the British Empire torn apart under her rule, the international influence of the London government significantly reduced, and the Queen trying to act as a "symbol of stability" in the declining empire.


  During the Cold War, an elegant, amiable queen became Britain's "soft power". In 1961, the Queen visited Ghana, a former British colony shortly after independence. She danced with Ghanaian leader Nkrumah in the age of apartheid and is seen as a symbol of the royal family embracing a new era.

Before the Queen's visit, there were frequent political crises in Ghana. The royal family was deeply worried about the local security and believed that the Queen might be used to "endorsement of the dictator". But Queen Elizabeth II knew her mission well. After the trip, Macmillan called U.S. President Kennedy seeking aid to Ghana: "I risked my queen, now it's your turn to risk your money."


  However, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the US media pointed out that the Queen's diplomatic activities have contradictory sides. On the one hand, her rigorous royal education and long-term foreign affairs experience made her one of the most skilled diplomats of the time. She never neglects any guests at the banquet, prepares gifts related to the visiting country for all visitors, and meticulously invites diplomats in London to visit her castle or even stay for a while. By using more intimate titles and inscriptions than in ordinary correspondence, she developed a special friendship with Nelson Mandela, the leader of the black movement in South Africa.


  But on the other hand, the Queen is also powerless to change the fact that Britain's influence is waning, and thus has seen more and more foreign leaders ignore royal etiquette. Former US President Barack Obama's wife Michelle once put her hand on the Queen's back, and the next President Trump walked directly in front of the Queen. Although this behavior caused an uproar in British public opinion, the Queen no longer expressed her dissatisfaction as she did with Jacqueline Kennedy. At the same time, the Queen and members of the royal family's global visits can always be criticized in the former colonial country for "why not apologise for the atrocities of the past".


  At the Queen's funeral, such controversial scenes continued. Although the funeral specifications are among the top in the world, there is also a "pragmatic side" behind "emotional diplomacy". Some analysts believe that this will become a "work funeral" for Western leaders to discuss issues such as escalating military aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia when the Ukraine crisis has not yet been resolved.

The last time Leslie Carroll saw the Queen up close was in 2011. Carroll recalled to "China News Weekly" that the Queen was wearing a light yellow suit with a top hat of the same color. .


  Not only her own dress, but throughout her life, the queen always tries to maintain a "constant" to a minimum. When she was last seen in the public eye for the appointment of Truss, the layout of the hall behind her had hardly changed from that of Queen Victoria. The British press doubted that the Queen really had a "Victorian aesthetic", and she never expressed enthusiasm for any new art forms and trends. But there are also many people in British society who respect and love the Queen more because of her insistence, thinking that it seems to show the "personality" of Queen Elizabeth II outside the Queen.


  The seemingly complete opposite of the Queen is her younger sister, Princess Margaret, who never hides her distaste for boring public events, but is enthusiastic, especially jazz-obsessed, collects all kinds of precious records, and enjoys watching shows. Jazz legend Louis Armstrong marveled at her knowledge of popular music, saying "the princess is such a fashionable woman". When Margaret was young, Londoners could still see her and her husband speeding through the streets on motorcycles at night.


  However, Princess Margaret and the Queen were close. Margaret once revealed that the sisters had only fought twice in their lives. The royal family is also committed to supporting the princess' musical interests, including producing a piano in her name. Some royal biographers have speculated that the queen, bound by the throne, poured her yearning for freedom into her love for Margaret. But the Queen herself has never confirmed this.


  In February 2002, Princess Margaret died after suffering a fourth stroke. On her deathbed, she had her personal chauffeur burn up many of her and her family's correspondence. A month later, the sisters' mother, the Queen Mother, died. In 2021, Prince Philip will die. In general, Margaret, Philip and the Queen Mother are supporters of the Queen's reforms and the very few members of the royal family who can speak candidly with the Queen.

After the three close relatives left one after another, the Queen's footsteps gradually slowed down. In the crisis triggered by members of the royal family's "racial discrimination" against Meghan, British society expressed new expectations for the reform of the royal family's diversity. This put the Queen under enormous pressure in her final years. But British media said that although Princess Diana's son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were not welcome in the royal family, the queen was always able to talk to Harry. However, Harry only arrived at Balmoral Castle after his grandmother died. Meghan and Prince William's wife, Princess Kate, did not accompany their husbands to the Queen's side as soon as they took care of their children.


  Clive Owen has pointed out that from February 6, 1952, "the Queen has no choice, and there is no point in asking her if she regrets being Queen". However, NBC quoted "royal watchers" as saying that the happiest time in the Queen's life was before this: From 1947 to 1952, she and Philip, newly married, lived with her military officer husband far away from the British mainland. island of Malta. The weather was fine, and Elizabeth would often drive around the island by herself, socializing with other officers' wives on an equal footing, "without any of the red tape she later experienced."

BY Liu Guangbo

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