As a practicing Anglophile, heavy TV news consumer, and borderline insomniac, there was no chance that I would miss the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The 4 a.m. ET start of coverage was less a deterrent than a lure.
I tuned in and was mesmerized for much of the next eight hours. The pageantry, beauty, and epic scale far exceeded my great expectations.
The queen’s farewell was awash in colors: Beefeaters in bright red livery flanked the memorial procession. One hundred forty-two Royal Navy sailors in dark blue uniforms used long white ropes to tug the light green State Funeral Gun Carriage that bore the departed monarch’s coffin. Atop this 121-year-old platform, a gold and burgundy royal standard draped the coffin, which was adorned with pink, yellow, and light orange flowers freshly clipped from the gardens at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House. The gold orb and scepter glittered beside the deep purple, diamond-encrusted Imperial State Crown.
As if directed by Cecil B. DeMille, some 6,000 of Her Majesty’s military personnel accompanied her final journey. They marched for miles in precision at a funeral-grade pace of 75 steps per minute, with nary a foot out of place. Each boot hit the ground as planned and arose on schedule. The result was a steady, rhythmic rumble that underscored the day’s gravity.
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