State Funeral (16/20)

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A state funeral is an honour reserved for kings and queens, or those of high national importance, and as of 2019 Churchill’s was the last state funeral in the UK. The funeral began at 9:45 with the chiming of Big Ben, which was then muted for the rest of the day. Ninety cannon salutes were fired in Hyde park, one for each year of his life, and the coffin was placed on a gun carriage and draped in the Union Jack Flag. The main service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral, with the Queen in attendance even though she only usually attends funerals of family members or personal friends. Four majors of the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars were assigned to carry Churchill’s medals, orders and decorations. Guest included French President Charles de Gaulle, and the former US president Dwight D. Eisenhower. After the service, his casket was carried to the Tower of London, and from there it was taken to festival pier and carried aboard MV Havengore and carried up the Thames. In an unrehearsed moment, 36 dockers lowered their crane jibs in a salute as the coffin passed. From Waterloo station, a train carried the coffin to Oxfordshire, where a hearse took him the rest of the way to St Martin’s Churchyard in Bladon, near Woodstock, where he was eventually laid in a grave near to his parents and brother. In 1977, the body of his wife Clementine, was buried next to him in the same tomb.

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