*** Our special correspondents Richard Latendresse and Véronique Lauzon are in London to report live on the events surrounding the Queen’s death
Elizabeth II’s coffin arrived on Wednesday after a procession led by her children from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, where it will be on public display until her state funeral on Monday.
To the tune of funeral marches by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Chopin played by a military band, tens of thousands of people, often in tears, watched for about forty minutes as the procession passed.
Carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage and flanked by soldiers in tails, the coffin was draped with the royal standard, on which rested the Imperial Crown, made in 1937 and adorned with 2,868 diamonds.
He was followed on foot by King Charles III, his brothers Andrew and Edward, and his sister Anne. They were followed side by side by Princes William and Harry, Charles’ two troubled sons, who are appearing together for the second time since Elizabeth II’s death last Thursday at the age of 96.
After a service at Westminster Hall, the coffin will go on public display from 16:00 GMT to 5:30 GMT on Monday. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to bid farewell to the popular sovereign whose reign of 70 years and seven months represents a record longevity for a British sovereign.
King Charles III visited on Tuesday. Northern Ireland, a delicate step in his accession to the throne.
“With a shining example before me and with the help of God, I take up my new duties determined to work for the well-being of all people in Northern Ireland,” the monarch told local Parliament.
Charles III travels to London, Edinburgh and Belfast. on Friday to Cardiff in Wales, the final leg of his tour of Britain’s four nations.
His popularity ratings have skyrocketed since his accession to the throne. According to a YouGov poll released Tuesday, three in five people believe he will be a good king, up from just over 30% a few months ago.
But his annoyance showed as he signed official documents in Belfast, where the king, who had had an extremely busy schedule since the death of his mother, was annoyed by a leaking pen.
Tensions in Northern Ireland, separatist tendencies in Scotland, rampant inflation: Charles III, older than any British sovereign at the time of his accession, took office at a critical moment.
With the country grappling with a severe economic and social crisis, Clarence House, Charles’ official residence when he was a prince, confirmed that staff layoffs were “inevitable” if he was expected to move to Buckingham with his wife Camilla , Queen’s consort.
Full hotels, disrupted traffic, overcrowded pubs… the British capital is feverishly preparing for the funeral of the century, in the presence of hundreds of leaders and royalty, an enormous security challenge.
To see the coffin, the government warned of “draconian restrictions” worthy of airports. The press speaks of around 750,000 people ready to endure a wait that could be counted in dozens of hours.
The exact snake route, published by the government, stretches along the south bank of the Thames for 15 kilometers to Southwark Park in the south-east of the capital.
In 2002, around 200,000 gathered in front of Queen Mother Elizabeth’s coffin, which was unveiled to the public three days before her funeral.
The rush to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the first national funeral since 1965 – that of Winston Churchill, is likely to be even greater.
Some countries, notably Russia, Afghanistan, Syria or Burma, were not invited.