Millions of people from around the world tuned in for the Queen’s final farewell. The elaborate nature of the funeral may have seemed distant and strange to the majority of viewers. But, in spite of the archaic, confusing traditions, the funeral can still teach us something about the process of saying goodbye, whether to a public figure or to a close friend.
Remembering The Person
Amidst the grandeur of Westminster Abbey and a coterie of famous guests, there was one element familiar to every funeral – the eulogy. The Queen’s eulogy took the form of a sermon, which focused on her faith and commitment to duty, although it also touched on her sense of joy, attested by people who were close to her and knew of her love of entertaining with wonderful parties.
You might want to consider what you’d like your eulogy to say by noting down the most important parts of your life. This might include relationships, anecdotes, activities, or quotes from your favourite songs, poems or books. Whether you leave some ideas for the person giving the eulogy or let them rely on their own memories, the effect is still the same – your friends and family saying goodbye with a thoughtful tribute.
The Queen’s eulogy was heard by her family and friends, in addition to foreign royal families, heads of state, politicians, religious representatives and more. However, there were numerous ‘ordinary’ people there too, including just under 200 people recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, with volunteers and healthcare workers recognising her achievements just as she recognised theirs.
This is nothing to the 250,000 people who walked past the coffin at her lying-in-state. It may seem like another alienating tradition, but it bears resemblance to a common way of saying goodbye. Many funeral homes have a Chapel of Rest, which is a room where loved ones can spend time with the open coffin. This is a tender time to reflect, restore serenity and prepare people for the funeral itself, although the experience is not for everyone. Despite the fact that the royal coffin was closed, the queue filing by still had a chance to say a personal farewell, although a Chapel of Rest allows friends and family to do it quietly and privately.
Say It With Flowers
We want our funerals to say something about us. One way of doing this is with floriography – the art of conveying meaning through plants. The Queen’s coffin was decorated with a beautiful wreath in colours of pink, burgundy and gold, featuring rosemary and cuttings of English oak and myrtle. Rosemary conveys remembrance and the English oak implies strength. Most touching is the inclusion of myrtle, taken from a plant descended from a cutting in her wedding bouquet. Find out more about picking your funeral flowers here.
Other elements included her funeral hymns, including two of her top ten songs, and her favourite animals putting in an appearance before the funeral. Emma, the Queen’s Fell Pony, greeted the procession, while two of her iconic corgis watched the arrival of the coffin at Windsor Castle. Her love of animals shone through even the most elaborate state funeral, which included her favourite things as the world said goodbye.
Our Light Inside
Our online portal also provides a place to plan your funeral, from ideas for your eulogy to a list of your favourite things. It helps your loved ones in saying goodbye and gives you peace of mind knowing that you have made provisions ahead of your final days.