The goodbye skies? Beautiful rainbows appear above Westminster and Windsor on the eve of the Queen’s funeral – while Londoners revel at a stunning red sky over Big Ben
- Rainbows have appeared at key spots synonymous with Britain’s longest reigning monarch, the Queen
- The Monarch, 96, gave her name to the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, which holds Big Ben and sits near Parliament
- She was also synonymous with Windsor Castle, where she spent much of her time during her impressive reign
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
Beautiful rainbows appeared above Westminster and Windsor tonight on the eve of the Queen‘s funeral amid Londoners revelling at a stunning red sky over Big Ben.
The skies seemed to say a last goodbye to the Monarch who has been a central figurehead of the country for over 70 years, and Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
Her Majesty also gave her name to the tower which holds the bell of Big Ben, which has was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
And the rainbows also were seen overhead the Queue, which has seen countless mourners lining up throughout the night to see the Queen lying in state.
It comes as rainbows were also spotted outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on the day of Her Majesty’s death, on Thursday, September 8.
Nature’s own memorial: A rainbow appeared yesterday over Westminster Abbey and Parliament while Londoners revel at a stunning red sky over Big Ben
A rainbow also appeared when people gathered outside Buckingham Palace on the day the Queen died, aged 96, in Balmoral on Thursday, September 8
The Union flag is pictured being lowered on Windsor Castle as a rainbow covers the sky on September 08, when the Queen died last week
A rainbow is seen in a semi circle over Westminster Hall this evening as people continue to join the queue to see the Queen lying in state
A rainbow is seen over the Big Ben on the eve of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century
A rainbow is seen over Windsor Castle in Berkshire, where the Queen spent most of her time during her long reign and was known to be fond of
A rainbow forms as people queue to pay their respects to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth following her death, in London
The funeral of the only monarch most Britons have known involves the biggest security operation London has ever seen.
Mayor Sadiq Khan says tomorrow’s state funeral is an ‘unprecedented’ security challenge, with hundreds of thousands of people packing central London and a funeral guest list of 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world.
‘It’s been decades since this many world leaders were in one place,’ Mr Khan said. ‘This is unprecedented … in relation to the various things that we’re juggling.’
‘There could be bad people wanting to cause damage to individuals or to some of our world leaders,’ he told The Associated Press. ‘So we are working incredibly hard – the police, the security services and many, many others – to make sure this state funeral is as successful as it can be.’
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the ‘hugely complex’ policing operation is the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics.
‘Our response here in London will be proportionate, it will be balanced, and officers will only be taking action where it is absolutely necessary,’ he said.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said the goal was to keep the event safe, ‘and try to do it in as unobtrusive a way as possible, because this is obviously a solemn occasion.’
More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty Monday, with London officers supplemented by reinforcements from all of Britain’s 43 police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces will also act as stewards along the processional route.
They are just the most visible part of a security operation that is being run from a high-tech control center near Lambeth Bridge, not far from Parliament.
Street drains and garbage bins are being searched and sealed. Tomorrow there will be police spotters on rooftops, sniffer dogs on the streets, marine officers on the River Thames and mounted police on horseback.
Flying drones over Central London has been temporarily banned, and Heathrow Airport is grounding scores of flights so that aircraft noise does not disturb the funeral service.
Authorities face the challenge of keeping 500 world leaders safe, without ruffling too many diplomatic feathers. Presidents, prime ministers and royalty will gather offsite before being taken by bus to the abbey – though an exception is being made for Mr Biden, who is expected to arrive in his armored limousine, known as The Beast.
Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) the Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Princess Eugenie, the Duke of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil
After being taken by gun carriage from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, the State Hearse will carry the Queen’s coffin west along the south edge of Hyde Park in central London, before passing through Queens Gate and heading down Cromwell Road. It will then head down Talgarth Road via the Hammersmith Flyover, Great West Road (A4) and Great South West Road (A30). It will continue on the A30 and will then take the A308 to make the final part of the journey to Shaw Farm Gate outside Windsor Castle, where it will be met by the procession that will take it up the Long Walk to St George’s Chapel
Another challenge is the sheer size of the crowds expected to gather around Westminster Abbey and along the route the coffin will travel after the funeral, past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park. From there it will be taken by hearse about 20 miles to Windsor, where another 2,000 police officers will be on duty.
The Queen is due to be interred in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99.
The President of Armenia copped flak earlier today for disrespecting the Queen as he took photos and chatted to aides during a visit to see her lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.
Vahagn Khachaturyan, an ally of warmongering Russian president Vladimir Putin, was seen bowing at the late monarch’s coffin as one of his lackies snapped some pictures on his mobile phone.
Bystanders meanwhile claimed the Armenian leader was loudly rabbiting on to his entourage as they trundled along the VIP walkway and down to the floor where Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is lying.
His actions flew in the face of strict rules in the 1,000-year-old chamber which forbid the taking of photos or videos and call for quiet, respectful behaviour.
Khachaturyan was seen in June of this year sharing a warm embrace with Putin at a Russian economic conference even as war raged across the border in Ukraine.
One attendee at Westminster Hall told The Sun: ‘There were hundreds of people in that hall – no one was speaking. Only him. Yap, yap, yap, yap. He clearly planned to have his photo taken.
Castle Wardens observe the national minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in Berkshire on Sunday evening
Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss (R) stands on the steps of 10 Downing Street joining in a National Moment of reflection to show her respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II at 8pm on Sunday
A police officer observes a National moment of reflection in Waterloo Station on Sunday
‘He and his aide hold back as the group in front passes the coffin… He knows the rules and would have been told before he went in.’
Another angry source said: ‘Everyone has managed to follow those rules to the very letter – apart from this one individual.’
It is unclear whether Khachaturyan, who remains a close ally of the Kremlin despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, will join other world leaders at the Queen’s funeral tomorrow.
The VIP time slots given to visiting heads of state and foreign dignitaries comes as hundreds of thousands of people queue spend hour after hour lining up to see Her Majesty.
Since Wednesday many had patiently stood in line as they wait to pay their respects, with the queue snaking its way through central London for more than four miles past numerous landmarks including the Tate Modern, the London Eye and Tower Bridge.
Later today officials will stop more people from joining the queue as they look to clear the line before the Queen’s coffin is moved in tomorrow’s funeral procession to Westminster Abbey, where her funeral is being held tomorrow morning.
Westminster Hall will close at 8.30am, with the doors of Westminster Abbey opening at 8am. The funeral service will begin at 11am.
The service, which will be shown live on the BBC and ITV, as well as 150 cinemas in the UK, is expected to be seen by as many as 4.1billion people worldwide.
After the service at Westminster Abbey the Queen’s coffin will be moved to Windsor where there will be a committal service tomorrow evening.