Melbourne, Australia

As the doors to Westminster Abbey opened to allow guests to take their seats, across the other side of the world, Australians sat down in front of their TVs to watch the historic event.

Although they were largely empty, English pubs in the central business district of Melbourne broadcast the funeral on big screens.

Rick Tonk, from West Yorkshire, was watching at the Charles Dickens Tavern with his parents. “We’ll spend some time here just taking in the atmosphere and we’ll be able to say goodbye,” Tonk said. “It’s been very solemn, for a lot of people around the world. They’ll be watching.”

He said it had been strange to be so far away from home as such a historic event unfolded and while her death was not a complete shock, it still felt like it came out of nowhere.

“It’s really the turning of a page, the dawning of a new age – just saying goodbye to the one person who has been our monarch for so long.”

The tavern’s owner, John Davie, said the coverage leading up to the funeral had “watered-down” interest in Australia. “The coverage it’s had leading up to probably the most important day of the lot, it’s probably not done it a service,” Davie said.

“Whereas in the UK people are queuing for days to pay respects. I think people here are just a little bit burnt-out. It’s a lot to take in.”

The pubs might have been quiet but Australians across the country – both monarchs and republicans – tuned in to watch. Some wanted to just “watch the historical moment” while others marvelled at the ceremony.

“Imagine having responsibility for the seating plan for this,” tweeted Ebony Bennet, the deputy director ofthe Australia Institute.

People watching the Queen’s funeral at Federation Square in Melbourne
People watching the Queen’s funeral at Federation Square in Melbourne. Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Earlier in the day, some churches organised small services so they did not clash with the funeral.

Priest Jennifer Furphy, 68, of St Agnes Black Rock, led her congregation in prayer for the Queen, read out snippets from some of her Christmas speeches and talked about what her death meant.

“We talked about how we really wanted to honour her memory and her Christian faith, and how she had lived a life of service to her country and the commonwealth,” Furphy said.

“Parishioners here are migrants from England, they have family there and real connections with the culture. I think it was important to honour that.”

Furphy said it was a moment in history she wanted to respect, while also acknowledging that for many First Nations Australians, the crown and its handover recalled a painful past of colonialism.

For many Australians in her generation, especially working women, the Queen was also a symbol of strength – juggling her role as monarch and mother.

“I’ve always felt the Queen was a good leader, and I’ve always felt it was good to be led by a woman,” Furphy said. “It’ll be quite different to have a king now.” Cait Kelly

Paris, France

The French republic has shown an unusual and unprecedented interest in the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II over the last 11 days.

Emmanuel Macron, who had made an emotional and respectful tribute to the British monarch, saying for the French she was simply ”the” Queen, tweeted a black and white film of Queen Elizabeth at the Élysée and with successive presidents and the simple message: “Thank you, Your Majesty.” The film began with the Queen wishing long friendship between the two countries.

TF1, one of the main French TV channels, broadcast a “special edition” called L’Adieu covering the entire funeral with solemn French translation and a British commentator who admitted singing God Save the King in the studio when it was sung in Westminster Abbey. The channel had several reporters along the route.

The Paris Metro station George V was temporarily renamed Elizabeth II 1926-2022.

Many people in France have pointed out how the French reaction to the Queen’s death lays to rest the question Liz Truss, the UK prime minister, seemed incapable of answering: was Macron “friend or foe”.

Lord Peter Ricketts, a former British ambassador to Paris, was on French television saying Truss had made a “serious error”. “It’s time to rectify this and confirm that we are friends and allies,” he said.

People watch the Queen’s funeral at the Cricketer pub in Paris
People watch the Queen’s funeral at the Cricketer pub in Paris on Monday. Photograph: Michel Euler/AP

Several national and local newspapers once again devoted their front pages to the royal farewell. The headline in Le Parisienwas “Elizabeth II: the funeral of the century”.

“The whole word looks to London today where the funeral of the Queen will be held,” it wrote.

Le Figaro’s front page had a picture of the coffin and the headline: “The Whole World Gathers in Memory of Elizabeth II.”

French journalists interviewed people outside the abbey, on the route of the funeral cortege and in pubs along the route.

It did not escape commentators’ notice that the funeral cortege came to a halt at Wellington Arch, a reminder of the Duke of Wellington and his defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and the French at Waterloo.

Some remarked with clear admiration on British phlegm and the ability to queue patiently for long periods. Kim Willsher

New York, US

It has been almost 250 years since the US announced its independence from the British monarchy, but in New York City on Monday morning there was plenty to suggest that some affection remains.

A mix of American royal family enthusiasts, flag-bearing British tourists, and scurrying local TV journalists filled the Churchill Tavern, a British bar a few blocks south of the Empire State Building, to watch the Queen’s funeral, the crowd observing an hour of hushed silence as the monarch was sent on her way.

Despite the early hour – the Churchill opened at 5.30am – seating was in short supply, with standing room only as people continued to arrive. Mourners were welcomed by a life-size beefeater figurine outside, and a sombre, respectful atmosphere within.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the bar quiet for an hour and 10 minutes before ever – nor would you ever really want it to be – but there was something quite surreal about that, and very respectful, and deeply moving, actually,” said Sinead Naughton, an Irishwoman who owns the Churchill with her British husband.

A typical midtown Manhattan establishment, with a long wooden bar stretching down one side and scattered seating opposite, the Churchill is set apart from other watering holes by its swathe of Queen Elizabeth photos and paintings.

Naughton said many regular customers were British, and the bar had been open for every major British event since it opened 11 years ago. Naughton said she felt “we had to” open for the funeral.

Early on, there was chatter among the attenders, but as the Queen’s coffin was carried towards Westminster Abbey the bar fell silent. By 6am, when the service started, there was only the occasional clink of coffee cups from the bar as staff kept the patrons fuelled.

Some of those present had dressed for the occasion, including Jean Shafiroff, who was sporting a large black hat.

Shafiroff, an American who serves on the board of several charities, said she had met Prince Harry in 2019 at a charity event in London. She attended Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in 2013, Shafiroff said, “but the Queen’s funeral is a harder invitation to procure”.

“Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II was a great role model for all people around the world. Her 70 years of service was extraordinary,” Shafiroff said. “We need more role models such as she.” Adam Gabbatt

Kenya

Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday was met by a fairly muted response in Kenya, a stark contrast to the flurry of reactions that followed news of her death, which elicited both mourning and anger in the east African country.

Kenya’s president, William Ruto, joined other world leaders in attending the Queen’s funeral, and the service was streamed on major news networks. But while her sending-off seized the attention of much of the world, it didn’t garner much national interest. On the streets and online, it was mostly business as usual.

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch became Queen in Kenya, after she received news of her father’s death while on royal tour with her late husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Some Kenyans remember the Queen’s “fairytale” first visit fondly.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Paul Ochieng, 49. “We grew up watching the Queen, and she became Queen here, so there’s a bit of a soft spot for her.”

Guests attend a live screening of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral at the British high commissioner’s residence in Nairobi, Kenya.
Guests attend a live screening of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral at the British high commissioner’s residence in Nairobi, Kenya. Photograph: Monicah Mwangi/Reuters

But for others, she was a painful reminder of Britain’s brutal colonial past, when nearly 1.5 million Kenyans were forced into detention camps and subjected to torture and other atrocities in the 1950s during the British empire’s crackdown on the Mau Mau – Kenyan freedom fighters who opposed colonial rule. The violent suppression of the Mau Mau took place at the start of Elizabeth’s reign, and many of the crimes were committed in her name. Faced with legal pressure, the UK government agreed, in 2013, to pay £20m pounds to Kenyan torture victims.

“We are being gaslit to mourn someone who watched over our collective suffering,” said Suhayl Omar, 24, a Kenyan researcher with the Museum of British Colonialism. “The fact that Kenyan leaders saw it fit to declare national mourning is an indication of the continued cycle of colonial violence that we continue to face.” Caroline Kimeu

India

Just as response to the death of Queen Elizabeth II was muted in India, there was little commotion around her funeral. Unlike other countries in south Asia that sent their heads of government to attend the funeral, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, did not attend, and instead the ceremonial head of state, President Droupadi Murmu, travelled to the UK. The funeral was not broadcast on any Indian networks, so had to be watched on YouTube, and there were no public screenings.

However, there were some in India who watched it from the privacy of their own homes. Alexander Balakrishnan, 24, a student in Delhi, who was born in the UK but moved back to India when he was four, said he had always been an avid watcher of all royal events, from the weddings to jubilees, as it gave him a sense of connection to where he was born.

“I’ve been glued to the television for the past 10 days, watching coverage of the queue and all the people sharing their memories of the Queen,” said Balakrishnan. ‘“I thought the funeral was very moving and simple, which I guess is how she wanted it. There was a sense of finality, you really felt that this was the last goodbye. It was sad but you also know that she lived this great, full life.”

Balakrishnan said that the British monarchy remained a divisive institution in India. “I think 50% of people see the royal family as just a symbol of the empire; they think we are done with them, there’s no patriotism or connection left to them in India. The other 50% see them as ultra-celebrities. So some people here are mourning the Queen as the most famous person in the world.”

The muted response to the Queen’s funeral in India was in part due to this complex legacy, said Balakrishnan but he believed it also had more cultural factors.

“I think one of the reasons there has been so little response to the funeral here is because people in India are so used to getting funerals done so quickly,” he said. “It’s either the same day or the next day, so this idea that it’s 10 days later is hard for people to relate to.”

Yasmin Kaura, 43, a pilates teacher in Delhi, was among those who had been moved by the Queen’s death and watched her funeral privately at home.

“I’ve felt very sad the last few days when I was watching people pay their respects,” she said. “But today during the funeral, I felt like everybody was ready to say goodbye. Even in that cathedral, which usually seems so large and intimidating, somehow it felt small and cosy, like a very intimate funeral.”

Kaura added: “Through wars and pandemics and tabloid nonsense, she never let it provoke her and she stood strong through it all. And let’s not forget, Queen Elizabeth was always a woman in a man’s world but she never let it show. It’s hard not to admire that. There’s not going to be a Queen for at least another generation, and I don’t know if anyone will do it as well as her again.” Hannah Ellis-Petersen

Source: The Guardian