It has been a magnificent spectacle, awe-inspiring and moving. I suspect that many of us have felt a profound sense of loss but also a deep national pride. After Winston Churchill’s funeral, the then Earl Marshal spoke to Lady Churchill: ‘This was not a funeral. It was a triumph.’ Later today, his successor will be able to say something similar to King Charles.
Amidst all the splendour, we should not forget gratitude, for those who made it all happen. Over many years, large numbers of officials have devoted themselves to planning for a day which they hoped would never come. Their efforts helped to make it a triumph. Ceremonial on this scale is a nerve-racking business. I remember having a jolly lunch in the Cavalry Club a few years ago with three officers from the Household Division. They were clearly out for large-scale enjoyment, and one of them explained why: ‘Only two more rehearsals.’ They were all involved in the Trooping of the Colour and had spent the morning being drilled, re-drilled and re-re-drilled.