‘Mixed emotions’ for Birthday Honours recipients at Queen’s funeral

Members of the public invited to say goodbye to the Queen have spoken of a day of “mixed emotions”, after some of those named in the monarch’s Birthday Honours List in June were offered the chance to attend her funeral.

Father-of-two Pranav Bhanot, from Chigwell in Essex, was honoured for his work supporting people throughout the pandemic, helping to deliver 1,200 free meals.

Speaking as he made his way into Westminster Abbey, he told the PA news agency he was “very grateful” to have been invited.

“It’s going to mean a lot to just be there,” he said.

The key workers and volunteers will join prime ministers, presidents and dignitaries from around the world inside Westminster Abbey for the funeral.

Gun carriage procession graphic
(PA Graphics)

“I’m certainly not a world leader, Mr Bhanot added.

“I feel slightly out of place, but very grateful. I think it’s going to be a day of mixed emotions – celebratory because the Queen achieved so much, but very sad because we are mourning our monarch.”

He was joined outside the Abbey by Nancy O’Neill, a long-serving nurse from Bradford.

Both were awarded MBEs and arrived together at Westminster Abbey.

Ms O’Neill said: “I think it is going to be surreal. I don’t think it’s really going to sink in until after we have finished today.

“But first of all, we actually have to get there,” she joked, as the pair walked towards the Abbey.