Queen Elizabeth’s funeral held Sept. 19, bringing controversy amid mourning


via Wikimedia Commons

Queen Elizabeth’s coffin placed onto the state gun carriage at Westminster Abbey to be toured through the streets of London by 142 members of the Royal Navy.

The news of the passing of Britain’s longest-serving reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth, was announced on September 8, 2022. At only 25 years old, she was crowned queen on June 2, 1953, at a ceremony at Westminster Abbey, becoming the symbol of the British monarchy. The recent news of her death was met with controversy concerning her and her family’s role in British colonialism. 

Her funeral, which had been planned for decades, consisted of various tributes and ceremonies that marked the end of her reign. A service for the queen, with only the king and members of the royal family in attendance, was held on Wednesday, Sept. 14 before her coffin was moved to lie in state at Westminster Hall. 

According to the New York Post, after the public viewing of her coffin in Westminster Hall, The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards lifted the queen’s coffin and moved it to the state gun carriage of the Royal Navy where her family and members of the Royal Air Force band followed behind her. People lined the streets during this procession to watch as the Queen’s elaborate coffin draped with the Royal Standard passed by. 

As reported by the New York Post, her coffin arrived at Westminster Abbey, where it was then lifted into the Abbey. After her service, the traditional “Last Post” sounded, and a two-minute silence then followed. The Queen’s family proceeded to Wellington Arch and Windsor for the Committal service, during which the most senior officer of the Royal Household, Lord Chamberlain Lord Andrew Parker, broke his wand of office and placed it on her coffin to signify the end of his duty. Her private service and burial then took place in the memorial chapel of King George VI. 

According to CNN, Queen Elizabeth’s funeral brought in 26 million viewers in the U.K. and 11.4 million in the U.S. According to the Associated Press, it is estimated that 250,000 British citizens came to give their final well wishes to their monarch. 

Although the turnout for her funeral proved that she was loved by many, others criticized her actions upon learning of her death. A principal criticism of the Queen and her family, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, was their long history of colonialism. People have also argued that she should be held accountable for her complacency and the benefits she has reaped from her family’s actions. 

Another criticism of the Queen is that her family obtained stolen jewels, including those in her infamous Kohinoor crown from India, which could be seen placed on top of her coffin. Throughout her 70-year reign, the people urged the royals to return these jewels, as well as various pieces of art, artifacts, and culture seemingly stolen from other countries. 

According to USA Today, there have also been conversations brought up about the 14 other countries of which the Queen was the monarch, breaking their ties to the British Crown. Although she had little governmental power over these countries and was more of a symbol, the Queen could still formally approve the legislation, appoint officials, grant state honors, or appoint governors-general to fulfill her duties in her other territories. Throughout her reign, many worldwide called for Queen Elizabeth to step down from her rule over these countries.

The Guilford community provided their reactions to the death of this influential monarch.

“I know she was not the best person,” said Guilford sophomore Kassidy Lancos. “She had old views on things. I’m not completely torn apart by her passing, but she was still a big part of the United Kingdom’s history…I am interested in seeing how the king does now and if there will be any changes.” 

“I pay fairly close attention to international politics, so I did follow the queen’s death,” said Criminal Justice Professor Will Pizio. “That being said, the news of her passing didn’t overly sadden me because of my focus on the international political economy standpoint.”

With old conversations being brought to the forefront because of the Queen’s passing, a new discussion has also begun: How will the new King of England, King Charles III, handle his family’s past and present actions?