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Incredibly, the Queen’s funeral is still going on: an explainer
A casual royals watcher tries to understand what, exactly, is happening over there.
Members of the armed forces move the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown, during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. The Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for four full days before her funeral on Monday Sept. 19. (Rebecca Brown/Ministry of Defense via AP)
Members of the armed forces move the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown, during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. The Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for four full days before her funeral on Monday Sept. 19. (Rebecca Brown/Ministry of Defense via AP) [ CORPORAL REBECCA BROWN | AP ]
Published Sep. 16|Updated Sep. 16

Understanding Queen Elizabeth II’s historic funeral is a full-time job, one I have selflessly devoted myself to undertaking. Editors, please accept my resignation for the other stuff.

Someone has to sort through the cognitive dissonance. Why does the Queen’s coffin linger on television so long after her death, rolling past cursed chyrons that read MYPILLOW CEO MIKE LINDELL SERVED WITH SUBPOENA AT HARDEE’S?

I am not here to disrespect Her Majesty, who was dedicated to her nation. Like many heterosexual, white women, I’ve been a casual royals watcher since Prince William appeared on the cover of YM magazine in 1998 as “PRINCE OF OUR HEARTS.” I’m also not here to dismiss the colonizing, musty, problematic nature of the monarchy. We in the States know all about colonizing, musty problems.

Nay, I am merely here for what we in journalism call an “explainer,” alternately, an excuse to use bullet points:

• The Queen died in Scotland on Sept. 8, setting in motion OPERATION UNICORN, a supporting plan to OPERATION LONDON BRIDGE. This preparedness makes sense to me. The plans involved the Church of England, the Metropolitan Police Service, the British Armed Forces, the media and many others. I have six Google docs just to visit Universal Studios in Orlando.

• Charles became King under OPERATION SPRING TIDE. Again, I will not comment. I will strain-smile into my lap and struggle to make meaningful eye contact. A council of important people said, yeah, he’s King. Charles proclaimed that, yeah, I’m King, then signed a paper that, yeah, I’m King. “How nice for Charles,” I said before sliding on my Princess Diana commemorative ring from Michaels arts and crafts.

• The Queen’s coffin moved to Balmoral Castle on Sept. 9. Two days later, it moved to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which I can’t believe is a real place. From there, it went to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, then Buckingham Palace in London.

The coffin containing the body of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022.
The coffin containing the body of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. [ ALASTAIR GRANT | AP ]

• The Daily Mail reported that the “royal beekeeper informed the Queen’s bees that the Queen has died and King Charles is their new boss.” Privately, several senior royals wondered why the monarchy isn’t taken more seriously.

• People magazine hammered breaking news alerts that the embattled Will, Kate, Harry and Meghan took a walk together in a show of solidarity. Yes, this funeral involves actual archers and a crown crusted in an unspeakable wealth of diamonds, but no. This. This, to me, was the most wildly royal moment. The simple act of walking while issuing icy sidelong glares.

• The Royal Parks asked mourners to stop leaving Paddington bears and marmalade sandwiches at memorials. The jamwiches do seem like an ant-trap, but banning Paddington is heretical at best.

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Men sit next to a Paddington bear stuffed toy placed in front of a Union flag umbrella as people wait opposite the Palace of Westminster to be first in line bidding farewell to Queen Elizabeth II in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.
Men sit next to a Paddington bear stuffed toy placed in front of a Union flag umbrella as people wait opposite the Palace of Westminster to be first in line bidding farewell to Queen Elizabeth II in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. [ ANDREEA ALEXANDRU | AP ]

• News coverage has been exhaustive. Wall-to-wall. Harry Styles-level overexposed. Just after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, CNN aired a story titled: LEAKING PEN FRUSTRATES KING CHARLES: “THIS BLOODY THING.” In a very real segment, a leaking pen frustrated King Charles.

• A ceremonial procession brought the coffin to Westminster Hall, where the Queen lies in state. This reminds me of when Hal from Moss Feaster Funeral Home sticks a light on top of a Plymouth Sundance and all us Catholics cruise past the Ace Hardware. In this case, Hal is the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and is [murmurs] probably not Catholic.

• We got a glimpse of Princess Anne, who is an offensive 16th in line for the throne. Can you believe this? In 2011 — which the court would remind you is not very long ago — the monarchy decided women could finally be equal to their nasty brothers. But not Anne, one of the busiest royals, because she was born in the old days. Paddington would like a word with the manager.

Britain's King Charles III, left, and Princess Anne follow the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.
Britain's King Charles III, left, and Princess Anne follow the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. [ KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH | AP ]

• Speaking of brothers, alleged sexual predator and Epstein cohort Prince Andrew got permission to wear his military uniform at the last vigil, but Harry did not, when all Harry wants to do is podcast with Megs in Cali.

• Well-wishers have been lining up to pay respects in “The Queue,” temporarily shut down Friday when it reached five miles. Sources say British people really like to stand in line. Many were somber, separating queasy feelings for the monarchy from their love of the woman. The New York Times spotted gin and tonic in line, which I think the Queen would cosign? She notoriously cherished gin, buoying data for those of us who also cherish gin and aspire to be 96.

• Monday marks her OFFICIAL official funeral, at which point People is going to make my inbox a shambles. The Queen will then go to her final resting place, St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. She will join her husband Prince Philip, her sister and her parents. Television news will, as a concept, pass out from dehydration. Some of us will go back to searching through old bins for that magazine with William.

• I would like my other job back now. Please?

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