the grandchildren and the crowd greeted Queen Elizabeth II-

from Paola De Carolis

The coffin brought to the funeral parlor in Westminster. 2 million are expected in London for the funeral. Expected audience: 4 billion (twice Diana)

The pain metronome beats 75 rounds per minute, the choreography of mourning takes place with the notes of Mendelssohn and Beethoven. Passing under his balcony, empty yesterday, Queen Elizabeth left Buckingham Palace for the last timethe official seat of the monarchy and little-loved residence. Escorted on foot by her four sons and grandsons, accompanied by the moved affection of an entire country, the sovereign has reached the oldest hall of Parliament in Westminster, where the coffin will remain until Monday morning. If needed, the confirmation of the extraordinary theatricality with which the public aspect of the death of the sovereign is consummated arrived yesterday with the first beat of the drum that for 40 minutes beat the time of an imposing procession, perfect in every detailfrom the marching pace, to the shiny helmets of musicians and guards.

The flags along the Mall, the golden statue of the Victoria Memorial, the spotless streets, the composed crowd, the meek horses, the imperial crown that under the sun gave the brilliant light of its precious stones: a spectacle, that of yesterday, which it seemed the ultimate expression of the symbols, charm and power of the monarchy and that it is only the general rehearsal of the funeral on Monday. The overwhelming participation of the public on one side surprised authorities and police forces, so much so that a temporary protective wall was erected around the route of the procession, on the other moved the Windsorswho in turn made it known that they found great comfort in the manifestations of admiration and respect for the queen and the rest of the family. The historical references, the solemn ceremonial, the impeccable direction of yesterday they cannot in fact make us forget the impact of Elizabeth’s disappearance on her family. A queen who will go down in history has died – who will ever be able to overcome her primacy and reign for more than 70 years? – but also a beloved mother, grandmother, aunt, mother-in-law, great-grandmother. They are so moving the pain stamped on Anna’s face, who chose to wear the uniform with pants, Carlo’s hunched shoulders, the tears of Catherine, now Princess of Wales, the unexpected closeness of the two brothers William and Harry.

That of the princes behind a coffin is an image that cannot fail to refer to another funeral, that of Diana, 25 years ago. Despite the very young agethe children then paraded on foot behind their mother’s coffin. At Prince Philip’s funeral last year, they had been separated by their cousin Peter, Anna’s son. Yesterday they were side by side during the procession and in Westminster, where they were accompanied by their wives Catherine and Meghan. The message is clear: affection for the grandmother requires overcoming disagreementshowever unpleasant. In the same vein we learn that the publication of Harry’s autobiography, a book that the Windsors do not look forward to warmly will be postponed. A reconciliation? Surely the image is that of a united and supportive family.

It is an important message. The death of a beloved sovereign and the arrival on the throne of a man who was not always likeable could be difficult to digest. The enormous affection for Elizabeth these days seems to embrace all Windsors instead: the queue for the funeral home winds around 16 kilometers, with the theaters and museums on the banks of the Thames that have opened their doors to help those who wait. About two million people are expected in London for the funeral, while the ceremony seems destined to touch up every television record with a global audience of 4 billion people, almost double that of Diana.

September 14, 2022 (change September 14, 2022 | 22:42)

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