Britons hold minute’s silence to mourn Queen’s death ahead of state funeral

·4-min read
Castle Wardens observe the national minute’s silence in memory of the Queen at Windsor Castle (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Castle Wardens observe the national minute’s silence in memory of the Queen at Windsor Castle (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Britons have held a minute’s silence to mourn the Queen’s death ahead of the state funeral.

At 8pm on Sunday, the country observed the silence to remember the late monarch, with people marking the occasion privately at their homes and at community events and vigils.

Liz Truss stood outside 10 Downing Street with her head bowed during the national moment of reflection, with people across the country following suit.

Mourners could be heard applauding and cheering after it ended.

It came as presidents, prime ministers and royalty from across the globe arrived at Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by the King.

Approximately 500 guests attended the event, among them the Prime Minister, US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden and France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who was joined by his wife, first lady Brigitte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and other working members of the royal family including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester joined Charles and the Queen Consort in mingling with guests.

Dozens of leaders of Commonwealth countries and members of foreign royal families also attended the reception.

Kate earlier held an audience with the first lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska at the palace.

Speaking about the Queen at Lancaster House, Mr Biden said: “To all the people of England, all the people of the United Kingdom, our hearts go out to you.

“You were fortunate to have had her for 70 years, we all were.

“The world is better for her.”

The US President and his wife also visited Westminster Hall for the Queen’s lying in state.

Security was tight and road crossings were closed ahead of his visit to pay his respects, as rumours spread through the crowd about the imminent arrival of Mr Biden and his entourage.

Members of the public continued joining the queue for the final day on Sunday evening, with the late monarch’s coffin to remain until 6.30am on Monday.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the estimated wait was at least eight hours, down from 14 hours earlier in the day.

People had earlier been warned not to set off from their homes to join the queue as it is due to close later on.

It came after Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said the Chinese ambassador and accredited officials remain barred from the House of Commons.

Asked about reports he had been “leant” on to allow people from a Chinese delegation into Westminster Hall, he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “Nobody has been leaning on me at all. Far from it.

“My view remains the same, that we would not welcome (a) reception in Parliament. And that’s when I stopped the ambassador and accredited Chinese from coming into the House of Commons.

“So let’s be clear, to hold a reception in the House of Commons when MPs and a peer has been sanctioned is not acceptable. My view remains the same and nothing has changed.

“The sanction against those accredited officials remains in place and will remain so. There is a very easy answer.

“Lift the sanction, we can also then look to see whether we should have reception in Parliament, but this is not going to happen at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Camilla paid a televised tribute to the late monarch, recalling her “wonderful blue eyes”, saying: “I will always remember her smile.”

The Queen Consort also shared a personal memory of the Queen who saw the funny side of a shoe mishap on her wedding day.

Speaking about the occasion on April 9 2005, Camilla said: “I remember coming from here, Clarence House, (to) go to Windsor the day I got married when I probably wasn’t firing on all cylinders, quite nervous and, for some unknown reason, I put on a pair of shoes and one had an inch heel and one had a two-inch heel.

“So, I mean talk about hop-a-long and there’s nothing I could do. I was halfway down in the car before I realised and you know, she – she could see and laughed about it and said, ‘look I’m terribly sorry’ and she did, you know, she had a good sense of humour.”

It came after the Prime Minister kicked off her meetings with world leaders on Saturday, speaking to her counterparts from New Zealand and Australia.

At 10am on Sunday, Irish premier Micheal Martin entered Downing Street for a “warm” meeting with Ms Truss to discuss “many issues in the context of the British-Irish relationship”, before leaving just under an hour later.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau also met with the Prime Minister a few hours later.