There is the reality of mortality, as described by the Dean of Windsor in Psalm 103: “The days of man are but grass… As soon as the wind goeth over it, it is gone.”
There is the certainty of life after death, as stated in the prayers: “We rejoice at thy gracious promise to all thy servants, living and departed, that we shall rise again at the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.” And there is the vision of triumph at the end of times, as the Dean quoted from Revelation: “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying.”
This passage was read at the funerals of the Queen’s grandparents and father, casting us back over an unbroken line of succession.
There was no qualification in any of these words, no Thought for the Day “some might say, others will feel differently”, but instead pure hope rooted in unshakable faith. The Queen has died, but her story does not end. That’s true for the monarchy, as well.
We came then to a moment of departure and transition, never before seen by the public. First, the instruments of state received by Elizabeth at her coronation were taken off the coffin and passed to the Dean: the sceptre, representing power and justice; the orb, representing the empire of Christ over the world; and the imperial crown. The Dean laid them at the altar, on three purple cushions.
Next, the King placed a small, red and gold flag on the coffin – Queen’s Company Camp Colour of the Grenadier Guards. The Lord Chamberlain broke his wand of office in two, symbolising the end of his service to Her Majesty, and put that, too, on the coffin.