Queen Elizabeth II of England died at 4:10 p.m. German time on Sept. 8, 2022, at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence and favorite retreat in the Scottish Highlands. She lived dutifully, as she had promised the people at her coronation. Elizabeth II lived to be 96 years old.
Here’s what happened in the Queen’s final hours
As Prime Minister Liz Truss was giving a speech in Parliament at 1 p.m. local time, Minister Nadhim Zahawi approached her and slipped her a note. A short time later, Truss, as well as Opposition Leader Keir Starmer, left the House of Representatives, leaving plenty of room for speculation. Half an hour later, Buckingham Palace sent word that Elizabeth II’s doctors were concerned about her health.
Another 30 minutes later it was announced that the royal family was on its way to Balmoral Castle. Two of her sons and her grandson William were unable to arrive at her deathbed in time.
Even before the official death news was announced, a crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace.
Finally, at 4:30 p.m., Prime Minister Liz Truss was officially informed of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. It was not until after 5:00 p.m. that her sons Andrew and Edward and grandson William arrived at Balmoral Castle. The official announcement of Queen Elizabeth II’s death was not made until 18:30 local time. At 7:00 p.m., her son Charles, who was king from that point on, paid tribute to his mother in an official statement as a „cherished sovereign and much-loved mother.“
The official cause of death given by the royal personal physicians was senility. In this case, impaired organ function leads to multiple organ failure, resulting in death. In addition to Charles, Camilla and Princess Anne, the Queen’s beloved corgis, Muick and Sandy, were also in the room when she died. Her daughter Anne signed the death certificate.
Transfer from Scotland to London for final resting place
News of the monarch’s death came as a shock to people around the world. Elizabeth II had reigned for 70 years. Whole generations grew up with this queen, never knew another British head of state. From Balmoral Castle, the coffin was taken to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, where she was laid out for 24 hours in the throne room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. On Monday, the coffin was led in a grand procession to St. Giles Cathedral, where the population was then able to bid farewell.
On Tuesday, the coffin was transferred to London. It is estimated that 4.1 billion people worldwide watched the official mourning ceremony on screen. Thousands and thousands made the pilgrimage to London to experience the ceremony live. The anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death has been a British public holiday ever since.
The funeral was conducted by the royal funeral home Leverton & Sons. However, the Queen’s coffin was commissioned three decades before her death and is made of English oak. The wood is now no longer used; the British royals now prefer American oak. Like that of her late husband Prince Philip, Elizabeth’s coffin was lined with lead. This is a tradition in the royal family. When lead oxidizes, it creates a relatively airtight layer that also prevents liquid from leaking out. However, the lead makes the coffin extremely heavy, so eight pallbearers were needed.
The lid also had to be very sturdy, because during the funeral ceremony, the scepter, crown and orb were placed on the coffin. The Edwards crown alone weighs two kilograms. Its value is estimated at 40 million US dollars. It is part of the crown jewels, which the royal family is not allowed to dispose of freely. The owner is the United Kingdom.
Where was Queen Elizabeth II buried? Resting place
On September 19, 2022, the Queen was laid to rest in a state funeral and buried in the Windsor family tomb at Windsor Castle, in a side chapel of the church. The bells of Windsor Castle, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey rang in her honor, and 96 gun salutes were also fired for each year of her life.
After the end of the royal mourning period (from September 29, 2022), the tomb of Elizabeth II in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle was also opened to the public. The tomb slab is made of black Belgian marble, the inscription of brass. Here she rests next to her husband Prince Philip. Her parents and her sister Margret are also buried in this tomb.
Detail on the sidelines: At the behest of the family, five scenes from the TV broadcast of the Queen’s funeral ceremony may not be shown in the future. It is not known exactly which images these are. However, the unedited version of the funeral ceremony was still available in the media libraries for several months.