Windsor welcomes the Queen at the last stage of her long farewell

The coffin of the Queen, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre (PA) (PA Wire)
The coffin of the Queen, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre (PA) (PA Wire)

The royal family have gathered at Windsor Castle for the Queen’s committal service after the nation said farewell to the late monarch.

The Queen’s long journey to her final resting place – and to be reunited with the Duke of Edinburgh – began in Balmoral on the day of her death and will end with her interment at the castle’s St George’s Chapel this evening.

In a touching gesture the late Queen’s two faithful friends, her corgis Muick and Sandy, were part of the day and made an appearance.

King Charles III was left close to tears during a state funeral service at Westminster Abbey, where the Archbishop of Canterbury described the Queen as having touched “a multitude of lives” and been a “joyful” figure for many.

The Queen was head of state but also a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and in a personal touch, the wreath adorning her coffin had a handwritten note penned by the King.

The message said: “In loving and devoted memory.”

Mourners filled the streets of the capital to cheer, applaud and throw flowers in the path of her state hearse following the funeral attended by world leaders, foreign royalty and leading figures from the fight against Covid-19 among more than 2,000 guests.

Tens of thousands watched the ceremonial procession from the Abbey to Wellington Arch – a rare spectacle of thousands of sailors, soldiers and airmen accompanying the former head of the Armed Forces or lining the route.

For the coffin’s journey to the outskirts of Windsor – a town the Queen knew well – the public’s appreciation of the late monarch mirrored the scenes in the capital.

The hearse was strewn with flowers across its roof and windscreen and at the outskirts of Windsor a procession was formed featuring soldiers on foot from the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals and Life Guards with mounted members of the Household Cavalry regiment.

The Long Walk was filled with mourners eager to pay their respects to their Queen who was a staple of Windsor and was in turn loved and respected by the town.

As the state hearse carrying the Queen’s coffin turned on to the famous thoroughfare, which gives unrivalled views across the Berkshire countryside, there were cheers from public.

Among those invited to the committal service were prime ministers from countries where the Queen was head of state, and former British prime ministers Sir John Major and Sir Tony Blair, who are Garter Knights and the current premier Liz Truss.

A large number of the Queen’s staff who worked closely with the late monarch were also invited to the service.

For the last time Charles and his siblings – the Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex – performed the duty and honour of walking behind their mother’s coffin, joining the procession when it entered the castle’s quadrangle.

Like the processions held earlier in the day they were followed by the monarch’s three grandsons Peter Phillips, Duke of Sussex and Prince of Wales.