Queen’s funeral: Final mourner to pass by late monarch’s coffin says ‘it felt like a real privilege’

·2-min read
Queen’s funeral: Final mourner to pass by late monarch’s coffin says ‘it felt like a real privilege’

An RAF servicewoman has said it was a “real privilege” to be the last member of the public to pay their respects to the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall.

Chrissy Heerey, from Melton Mowbray, was the final member of the public to file past the Queen’s coffin as the lying-in-state period ended at 6.30am on Monday.

Ms Heerey said: “I was the last person to pay my respects to the Queen and it felt like a real privilege to do that.

“I’d already been round once, I went in at 1.15 this morning.

“It’s one of the highlights of my life and I feel very privileged to be here.”

By the end, the flow of mourners passing into Westminster Hall had slowed to a trickle as those at the back of the queue finally reached their destination.

HM Queen Elizabeth II: Royal Mourning - in pictures

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Grenadier Guards flank the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP)
Grenadier Guards flank the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP)
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(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Some were smartly dressed in sombre black coats, while others wore brightly coloured outdoor gear which served as protection against the chilly autumnal night.

They passed through the hall in silence, with some pausing for one final look at the only monarch many of them have ever known before exiting into the dawn.

The silence was interrupted only by the changing of the guard every 20 minutes, the sound of military boots on the stone floor echoing off the walls.

Since Thursday, hundreds of thousands of members of the public filed past the coffin until the final people who had queued through the night left the cavernous medieval hall early on Monday morning.

The process has seen a river of people snaking along the Thames around the clock, members of the public mixing with celebrities and foreign dignitaries beneath Westminster Hall’s hammer-beam roof.

Some bowed, some curtsied, others made the sign of the cross as they paused beside the coffin which was draped in the Royal Standard with the jewels in the Imperial State Crown, sceptre and orb, placed on top.

Members of parliamentary staff and, finally, Black Rod Sarah Clarke were the final people to pay their respects after the last of those who had queued had been through Westminster Hall.

For the Queen, it was the final duty in Parliament, an institution which she visited frequently during her 70-year reign.

HM Queen Elizabeth II - In pictures

(PA)
(PA)
Princess Elizabeth waving from the carriage as she drives in London in May 1928 (PA)
Princess Elizabeth waving from the carriage as she drives in London in May 1928 (PA)
The Queen wearing the Imperial State Crown and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in uniform of Admiral of the Fleet wave from the balcony to the onlooking crowds around the gates of Buckingham Palace after the Coronation in 1953 (PA)
The Queen wearing the Imperial State Crown and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in uniform of Admiral of the Fleet wave from the balcony to the onlooking crowds around the gates of Buckingham Palace after the Coronation in 1953 (PA)
England captain Bobby Moore receives the Jules Rimet Trophy from The Queen after England defeated West Germany in 1966 (AP)
England captain Bobby Moore receives the Jules Rimet Trophy from The Queen after England defeated West Germany in 1966 (AP)
Queen Elizabeth II and Paddington Bear having cream tea at Buckingham Palace (PA)
Queen Elizabeth II and Paddington Bear having cream tea at Buckingham Palace (PA)
(PA Wire)
(PA Wire)
(Chris Jackson/Buckingham Palace via Getty Images)
(Chris Jackson/Buckingham Palace via Getty Images)
(PA)
(PA)
The Queen sitting with her corgis at Virginia Water to watch competitors, including Prince Philip in the Marathon of the European Driving Championship, part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1973 (PA)
The Queen sitting with her corgis at Virginia Water to watch competitors, including Prince Philip in the Marathon of the European Driving Championship, part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1973 (PA)
The then the Duke and Duchess of York with their daughter Princess Elizabeth at her christening on May 1, 1926. It was not expected that Elizabeth would become Queen (PA)
The then the Duke and Duchess of York with their daughter Princess Elizabeth at her christening on May 1, 1926. It was not expected that Elizabeth would become Queen (PA)
Princess Elizabeth arriving at Olympia for the Royal Tournament in 1930 (PA)
Princess Elizabeth arriving at Olympia for the Royal Tournament in 1930 (PA)

She delivered her first Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on November 4, 1952.

During her reign she only missed three state openings – in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Andrew, the future Duke of York and Edward, who would become Earl of Wessex and then in May this year as her health faltered.

On that occasion the then Prince of Wales opened Parliament, a role which will be his by right from now on as King.