Charles mourns his mother from seat where Queen grieved alone for Philip just 17 months ago

·4 min read
The King sat in the same seat where his mother had sat alone during Prince Philip's funeral last year. (PA)
The King sat in the same seat where his mother the Queen had sat alone during Prince Philip's funeral last year. (PA)

King Charles III poignantly watched his mother's funeral from the same seat where his mother grieved alone for her husband last year.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 on 8 September came almost exactly 18 months after the death of her husband Prince Philip.

Following a majestic ceremony in Westminster Abbey and a procession through London, the Queen was taken to Windsor to be buried in St George's Chapel alongside her husband of over 70 years.

During Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021, the Royal Family were subject to strict COVID-19 rules which banned separate households from mixing, and prohibited more than 30 people from attending a funeral.

The Queen sat on her own for the funeral of her husband the Duke of Edinburgh. (PA)
The Queen sat on her own for the funeral of her husband the Duke of Edinburgh. (PA)
(front row, left to right) the Earl of Wessex, the Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor (middle row, left to right) King Charles III, the Queen Consort, the Princess Royal, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of York, Princess Beatrice (back row, left to right) The Countess of St Andrews, Lady Davina Windsor, Senna Kowhai, Thomas Kingston, Lady Gabriella Kingston, Lady Rose Gilman, Lyla Gilman, George Gilman at the Committal Service for Queen Elizabeth II, held at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
The King sat in the same seat that his mother the Queen had sat in alone for Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021. (PA)

The image of the Queen sat on her own on the pew wearing a face mask, across from her family members, became one of the defining images of the pandemic, giving an insight into the loss and grief hundreds of thousands felt across the country.

During a committal service – the first of a monarch to ever be televised – Charles sat in the very same seat where his mother sat alone.

Millions watched around the globe as a nation in mourning staged a final goodbye to its cherished longest-serving monarch.

The Queen’s state funeral was unprecedented in scale and grandeur for a sovereign incomparable in duty and service.

King Charles III and members of the royal family follow behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is carried into St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, Berkshire for her Committal Service. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
King Charles III and members of the Royal Family follow behind the coffin of the Queen. (PA)
King Charles III, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince William, The Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex and Peter Phillips walk behind The Queen�s coffin at her State Funeral. After a service at Westminster Abbey, The Queen will be taken to St Georges� Chapel, Windsor for a private service and burial. Credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS
The funeral honoured her public life but 'grief is the price we pay for love', the sage Queen once said, and the deep personal heartache was evident too. (Reuters)

Many of the world’s royalty, presidents and prime ministers attended at Westminster Abbey, travelling thousands of miles to bear witness to the seismic change taking place in the UK.

Charles, stricken with sorrow, led his country, his siblings, his children and young grandchildren in honouring the Queen.

The new King, visibly moved, seemed close to tears as the national anthem was sung – for him, in rousing tribute to his new reign.

His words of tribute, handwritten on a message on the Queen’s coffin, were a poignant touch from her son and heir: “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.”

King Charles III and the Queen Consort follow behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is carried into St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, Berkshire for her Committal Service. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
King Charles III and the Queen Consort follow behind the coffin of the Queen for a committal service. (PA)

The coffin was a blaze of colour, a striking sight against the black-and-white chequered stone floor of the gothic abbey.

The funeral wreath contained glorious gold, light and bright pink and deep burgundy, with touches of white, to reflect colours of the Royal Standard draped beneath.

It was a moving gesture from the King to his mother, with the flowers and foliage cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove and chosen by him for their symbolism.

(front row, left to right) The Duke of Sussex, Princess Charlotte, the Princess of Wales, Prince George, and the Prince of Wales, watch as the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and sceptre are removed from the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard, during the Committal Service at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
The Royal Family watch as the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and sceptre are removed from the coffin of the Queen. (PA)

There was rosemary for remembrance, myrtle, the ancient symbol of a happy marriage and from a plant grown from a sprig in the Queen’s wedding bouquet, English oak to symbolise the strength of love, as well as pelargoniums, garden roses, autumnal hydrangea, sedum, dahlias and scabious.

Sparkling beneath the lights were the Crown Jewels – the Imperial state crown, the orb and the sceptre – the historic symbols of the monarchy.

The crown, orb and sceptre were then removed from the Queen’s coffin and placed onto the altar of St George’s Chapel by the Dean of Windsor.

King Charles III at the Committal Service for Queen Elizabeth II held at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
King Charles says a final goodbye to his mother during a committal service. (PA)

The final hymn was sung as the King prepared to drape the Queen’s Company Camp Colour of the Grenadier Guards on the coffin.

Once in place, the colour was then accompanied by the Lord Chamberlain’s Wand of Office, which he symbolically broke.

The Lord Chamberlain ceremonially breaks his Wand of Office on the coffin at the Committal Service for Queen Elizabeth II, held at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
The Lord Chamberlain ceremonially breaks his Wand of Office on the Queen's coffin during her committal service. (PA)

The Queen’s coffin was then lowered into the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel, as the Dean of Windsor recited Psalm 103, which includes the traditional line: “Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul”.

He also offered the commendation – a prayer in which the deceased is entrusted to God’s mercy and the Garter King of Arms then pronounced the styles and titles of the Queen.

The service ended with the Sovereign Piper playing the lament A Salute to the Royal Fendersmith from the doorway between the chapel and the dean’s cloister, with the music gradually fading away as he walked towards the deanery.