Mourners lined the streets of London for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral
JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:
NPR's London correspondent Frank Langfitt joins us now. Hi, Frank.
FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Hi, Juana.
SUMMERS: So, Frank, what has the atmosphere been like in London?
LANGFITT: I mean, it's definitely been sad. But I also think a lot of people came down for a sense of history, and they just wanted to see this for themselves and maybe, in some cases, to say goodbye. People were gathering hours along the route around Buckingham Palace and even Hyde Park. A woman named Wendy Preedy - she was in Hyde Park, sitting on a Union flag, watching the funeral on a giant screen. And this is what she had to say.
WENDY PREEDY: I loved the queen, and I just think no one does pomp and ceremony like the British. And it's just been absolutely wonderful, and I wanted to experience it here with everybody else.
SUMMERS: And, Frank, what else have you been hearing from people?
LANGFITT: Well, you know, there are also a lot of - got to remember this is a very big city, and there are a lot of people who are not watching it. They're not coming out to see it. And today was a bank holiday, so people simply took advantage of that. There's a guy named Max Lehmann. He's a teacher in his mid-20s here in London. And he was also in Hyde Park, but he was actually sitting behind the giant screens that were showing the funeral. He wasn't even watching it, and he was having a picnic with some friends here in London and out of town. And he said he just wasn't that interested. This is how he put it.
MAX LEHMANN: I'm not a massive royalist and had this picnic planned with my lovely Australian friends and George, so I was planning stuff for this instead of watching that 'cause - I know it sounds really brutal, but it's honest and hasn't really and isn't probably going to affect my future.
LANGFITT: And I'm going to give you another example, Juana, because I think - everyone I talk to respects the queen, but they have different approaches to the monarchy for sure. And I can think of two friends. One is - lives near my neighbourhood. He's a white man, patriotic. He went out and stood for 13 hours in line to see the queen's coffin in the Houses of Parliament. Another is a woman that I know who's originally from India and, when I was looking on Facebook, saw that she was in Greece just taking advantage of the bank holiday and posting photos of eating on the beach. And I said, not here for this, and she wrote, I'm from the colonies.
SUMMERS: OK. So, Frank, I understand the queen's coffin will be placed in the royal vault. What else do we know about her final resting place at Windsor Castle?
LANGFITT: Well, her final resting place will be with Prince Philip, her husband, who died last year. And she'll be in the same chapel with her father, King George VI, and her mother and sister. And so, in a way, all these years later, that family, that original royal family, will be united in St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.
SUMMERS: Today's state funeral in Westminster Abbey drew dignitaries from around the world. The royal family was there. Can you tell us a bit more about the service?
LANGFITT: Sure. It was very much an Anglican Church of England service. There was a lot of hymns, a lot of readings. One of them was made by the new Prime Minister Liz Truss. And I want to mention that, you know, she's the 15th Prime Minister to work, albeit very briefly, with this queen - the first prime minister, of course, being Winston Churchill. And Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury - he did give a sermon. A couple things that were interesting there, Juana - he focused not only on her service, the queen's service to the people, which is kind of a hallmark of her reign, but also talked about King Charles III following in his mother's kind of footsteps and with that great emphasis. And I read into that a desire to try to kind of connect him to her legacy.
SUMMERS: And what comes next for King Charles now that he has acceeded to the throne?
LANGFITT: Well, I can't say exactly right now. But there will be a coronation, and it'll be next year. And I think that will be the next big event. But I also think that he faces a challenge. He's, you know, a lot less popular than his mother and less popular than the monarchy, so he has his work cut out for him. If you talk to a lot of young people here and you look at polls, they're 50/50 on the monarchy, I mean, in terms of whether they think it should remain or whether they should keep it going. And that's a challenge to the institution over time.
SUMMERS: That was NPR's London correspondent Frank Langfitt. Frank, thank you.
LANGFITT: Great to talk, Juana. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.