No country other than the UK could put on such a spectacle (Queen Elizabeth II: from public pomp to a private family farewell, 19 September). Not a single person out of step. Trumpets, drums, bagpipes, all heralding the end of an era. Cannons firing, bells ringing, Big Ben chiming, choirboys singing. Row upon row of servicemen and servicewomen, faces etched in solemn regard. Columns of guardsmen, helmets gleaming, plumes wafting, bearskins bobbing. Line after line passes soberly by – a river of scarlet and gold in an ocean of black. The crowds bear witness to it all, a nation joined as one in solidarity for a queen the like of which we will never see again. Unforgettable.
Gawler, South Australia
• I am on vacation from the US in the UK. While not normally a royal follower, I decided that I had to do the British thing and watch the Queen’s funeral. It was impressive. I am glad I live in a world that still has pageantry. I am glad I live in a world that can still have things that serve no practical purpose, such as kings and queens, and soldiers who have swords on their belts, fur on their hats, and move like trained dancers. I hope that there will always be room in this world for soldiers who aren’t carrying guns.
Emily Anne Lyons
Annandale, New Jersey, US
• Charlotte Higgins (It was a gilded royal funeral, an event that will only heighten our self-delusion, 20 September) pretty much said what I feel, and the historical details she added – about the disastrous funeral of George IV, for example – were fascinating. Let us hope that there will be far fewer feathers the next time. I was particularly impressed by her careful use of the word “fulsome” to describe the BBC’s commentary. A shame she felt that she had to add the words “and mawkish” after it in order not to be misunderstood.
• If Charlotte Higgins was reminded of RSC productions of Shakespeare’s history plays, the image may have been reinforced by the BBC camera picking out the portrait of one king in the abbey: Richard II.
• The mood of gritty realism that describes life in modern Britain (unemployment, food bank visits, unplanned pregnancies) was briefly punctured in Ambridge on Monday when a funeral was briefly mentioned in The Archers, after the actual event had taken place in a parallel unreal world. At least the whole of the BBC did not succumb to royal overkill.
• How do you explain to granddaughters aged 10 and eight why not a single girl chorister was included in the three choirs represented at the Queen’s obsequies? There was one woman among the altos at St George’s chapel in Windsor, presumably brought in to beef up that line a bit. Girls sing the treble line just as beautifully as boys do, and it is high time we scrapped this ridiculous Anglican cathedral tradition, as they have already done at a few cathedrals.
• Farewell to the Queen. The funeral was emotional; it made us proud of our country. It also felt like the last hurrah of the British empire. The last hurrah of a former world power.
Brighton, East Sussex
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