Queen Elizabeth II’s reign symbolically comes to an end with the ceremonial ‘breaking of the wand’: St George’s Chapel sings ‘God Save the King’ as Charles III leaves the monument before the private family service takes place later
An ancient tradition known as ‘breaking the wand’ took place today to symbolically mark the end of the Queen’s reign when St George’s Chapel burst into a rendition of ‘God Save the Queen’.
In a touching ceremony, the Lord Chamberlain – who oversees much of the royal household – broke his wand, traditionally used to discipline rowdy courtiers.
Breaking this staff means the end of his service to the Queen. King Charles III will now appoint his own Lord Chamberlain to fill the role under his new duties as monarch.
This ceremonial gesture, which took place during the Queen’s engagement, was last performed at George VI’s funeral more than 70 years ago, but this was the first time it was ever televised.
Shortly afterwards, the Queen was laid to rest with her beloved husband Prince Philip after her crown, orb and scepter were removed from her coffin so that she could descend “like a simple Christian soul” into her grave.
Her Majesty returned home to Windsor to be reunited for eternity with her husband, father, mother and sister in the crypt of St George’s Chapel to the lament of a lone bagpiper as her 70-year reign came to an end.
The Royal Family stood at the end of the short shift as the Queen was slowly lowered into the Royal Vault as the Dean of Windsor said, “Go forth on your journey from this world, O Christian soul.”
He also offered the commendation – a prayer in which the deceased is entrusted to God’s mercy.
Charles looked deeply moved as the coffin was lowered – one day when he appeared several times in tears as he bid farewell to his mother, the 12th British monarch to be buried in Windsor.
Her Majesty’s long journey to her final resting place – and to be reunited with the Duke of Edinburgh – began in Balmoral on the day of her death 11 days ago and will end with her private funeral in the castle’s St George’s Chapel tonight. , where the king will sprinkle earth on his mother’s coffin at 7:30 p.m. during a private family service.
Britain’s longest-reigning monarch had been carried into the historic church, followed by Charles III, her children and grandchildren, including Prince Harry and Prince William.
St George’s was where the Queen had sat alone during Prince Philip’s funeral last year – in one of the most poignant images of the pandemic – and it was the place she had loved to worship for so many years.