World bids final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, 1926-2022(Photo: Reuters)

Britain has come to a standstill on Monday to bid its final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II.

Leaders from around the world are among the 2,000 guests at Westminster Abbey today for the late Queen's state funeral.

The Queen was Britain's longest-reigning monarch, on the throne for 70 years, and was also the head of state of many other countries around the Commonwealth.

Members of Europe's royal families will be in attendance, alongside world leaders including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Doors to the abbey opened at 8am, three hours before the start of the funeral.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will deliver the sermon while Prime Minister Liz Truss will read John 14: 1–9a, in which Jesus comforts his disciples before his death.

Prayers will be said by Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; Shermara Fletcher, Principal Officer for Pentecostal and Charismatic Relations at Churches Together in England; Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London and Dean of His Majesty's Chapels Royal; Canon Helen Cameron, Moderator of the Free Churches Group; Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster; and Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York.

The congregation will sing The Lord is My Shepherd and at the conclusion of the funeral, a two-minute silence will be observed nationwide.

Churches and cathedrals up and down the country have erected large screens to broadcast the funeral live from Westminster Abbey. 

Archbishop Welby told the BBC that he hoped the Royal Family would "find a measure of comfort amidst the glare of publicity".

"In the readings and the prayers, it will be something that, again, I pray will fit the Queen's character and person. You'll think not just this was a service fit for a Queen, this was a service fit for this person," he said.

The former Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said that mourners will "not find boredom" at the funeral but a "glorious" and heart-warming event.

Lord Sentamu told the BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: "So what you're going to expect is the best of funeral services, the prayer book service, the words which were an inspiration to Shakespeare.

"So you're going to hear this wonderful English at its best, also you're going to hear angelic voices of the choir of the Abbey plus the Chapels Royal, you really hear voices that are singing to the glory of God.

"The Queen does not and did not want what you call long, boring services, you're not going to find boredom, but you're going to be lifted to glory as you hear the service.'

He added: "The hearts and people's cockles will be warmed and at the same time, there will be a moment of saying this is a funeral service that is glorious in its setting."

The funeral concludes 10 days of national mourning during which churches and embassies opened books of condolence.

Some churches and cathedrals have planned prayer vigils to coincide with the funeral, which is being marked across the country with a bank holiday and many shop closures.

Huge crowds have gathered outside Westminster Abbey and along the route to Windsor Castle where she will be interred in St George's Chapel beside her beloved late husband, Prince Philip.