In life, the Queen drew all eyes to her. A diminutive figure, she dressed brightly to stand out among the crowds who came to see her.
In death, too, amid all the distractions of a state funeral, she still remained the very centre of attention at Westminster Abbey, her small coffin, draped in the primary colours of the Royal Standard, our last mortal link to her mighty reign.
Like at a royal garden party, her arrival – just before 11am at the Great West Door – sent a frisson through the waiting ranks. The congregation and the entire nation held its breath as her presence was announced, first by the silencing of the massed pipes and drums, playing the Mist Covered Mountains, and then by the orders bellowed to the bearer party: “Stand Still; Slow March.”
For those inside the church and for most of us watching at home, this was the goodbye scene – though her final journey ends in Windsor – the Abbey bookending her 70 years as Queen.