Thousands Gather in Hyde Park to Watch Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral


LONDON — Tens of thousands of people gathered on Monday in Hyde Park to watch Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, video of which was displayed on large screens. They sat on camping chairs, blankets, ladders and stools, brought their own breakfast or bought sausage and fish and chips from the several food trucks installed for the occasion.

The initial festival-like atmosphere became somber when the service at Westminster Abbey started, with the huge crowd watching in silence. They also recited the prayers along with the congregation.

“I have cried my eyes out all the way through,” Jess Parsons, 36, wrapped in a British flag, said as she watched the funeral. Ms. Parsons now lives in Paris, but she came back to London just for the funeral. She said she stayed up until early Monday morning distributing tea and coffee to people in “The Queue” who were waiting to view the queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall.

“They don’t make them like her anymore,” she said, referring to the queen. “She was a one-off.”

Maxine Harris and her friend Ellie Curran, both 28 and wearing black, came to Hyde Park and joined a thunderous applause when the screen showed the funeral procession while the sound of cannons resonated in the air.

“Especially with this political climate it’s nice that we can all be together,” Ms. Harris said.

“When we get old, we will be able to tell our grandchildren that we were here,” Ms. Curran said.

Jeff McNally, 63, from the city of Bournemouth, England, wore a medal embossed with the queen’s likeness that he was awarded in the 1970s, when he served in the Royal Artillery.

“I want to say goodbye to my boss,” he said. “Prime ministers come and go, but she has been the one constant thing in my life.”

Steven Chow, 46, who moved to Britain from Hong Kong last year, said he came to Hyde Park with his family because of their memories of growing up in Hong Kong when it was under British control. “We want to thank the queen for letting us see the most beautiful Hong Kong,” said Mr. Chow, who had stood in The Queue for 13 hours.



Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/19/world/europe/queen-elizabeth-funeral-hyde-park.html