the royal coffin in Westminster Hall, the heart of the parliamentary monarchy

the royal coffin in Westminster Hall, the heart of the parliamentary monarchy

the royal coffin in Westminster Hall, the heart of the parliamentary monarchy

The coffin of Elizabeth II departing from Northolt Air Force Base (United Kingdom), 13 September 2022.

The conversations ceased: as if from a period film, four trumpeters of the Royal Cavalry, in red and gold doublets, took their places at the foot of the stained glass window that occupied the south pediment of Westminster Hall, the enormous medieval hall of the Palace of Westminster, the oldest part of the current seat of the British Parliament, dating back to the eleventhAnd century and built by order of William II (around 1060-1100), son of William the Conqueror. Two purple armchairs have been installed in the center of a monumental staircase.

Liz Truss’ company is present, in full force. The huge floor is occupied by a good thousand MPs – members of the House of Commons, unelected members of the House of Lords. Boris Johnson is sitting next to Theresa May, wearing a big black hat. A little lost, Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labor opposition leader, ended up finding a place behind the two former prime ministers.

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Everyone is waiting for Charles III, for his first visit to Parliament as a monarch, on Monday 12 September. There is nothing fortuitous about the place: much of the history of the British parliamentary monarchy was written in this room. It is here that in medieval times the monarch gave sumptuous parties: there were the coronation banquets of Henry VIII, his second wife Anna Bolena and his daughter Elizabeth I.uh.

Thirty hours of waiting

It is also there that from the thirteenthAnd century, real justice was done and the rule of law was falsified. There again that King Charles Iuhwith absolutist claims, he was tried and sentenced to death for treason, in 1649. There, finally, that Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was to be displayed to the public, draped in the royal banner (the royal flag) from Wednesday at 5 pm, and until the dawn of his funeral on the 19th. Hundreds of thousands of people will come to meditate there, the wait to enter the hall could last up to thirty hours.

The minutes are lengthened on Monday morning: regulated to the smallest detail, the outdated rituals of the British monarchy take time. The public is busy consulting their phones discreetly or admiring the enormous oak frame of the place, when the roar of a helicopter resounds above the nearby Big Ben (the Elizabeth Tower that bears the famous clock is part of the Palace of Westminster) . Then the heavy footsteps of the king’s bodyguards in costumes apparently not evolved since their creation in 1485 echo on the stone tiles of the hall. The Royal Rolls-Royce Phantom IV parks in front of the north entrance of the building, the ceremony of the “presentation of addresses”.

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