The royals, then the politicians. And Biden finds himself in row number 14

from Luigi Ippolito, our correspondent in London

For the farewell to a global icon, crowned heads and 100 heads of state: the world as seen from London

The world was there to cry for the Queen. Four billion people

half of the Earth – it is estimated – followed the funeral live on TVwhile 500 dignitaries from 200 countries, including 100 heads of state and government, filled Westminster Abbey. This state farewell to the last global icon of the planet
: the woman who was, in a certain sense, the empress of all.

The order of the seats in the church reflected the world as seen from London. In the front row the crowned heads, facing Charles and the royal family, with Margaret of Denmark, the oldest sovereign in Europe, at the head of all; followed by the governors of the 14 countries of which the queen was head of state, therefore the representatives of the nations of the Commonwealth; only to close, the rest of the world.

Relegated to the 14th row sat the man in theory most powerful of allthe American president Joe Biden, who made his entrance holding his wife Jill by the hand: but since he had refused to get on the bus that led the other leaders, he had to be content with a seat at the back, behind the president and before the Czech Prime Minister.

A small satisfaction for Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, who for once took precedence over the bulky neighbor and chose to take the bus: A lot of great conversations happen on a bus, he commented.

And so there was a bus for the royals, which saw the emperor of Japan Naruhito and the king of Spain Felipe go up.while another bus brought among others our president Mattarella, accompanied by his daughter Laura, and the German president Steinmeier.

The only sign of national distinction, the cars with which they arrived at the collection point, at Chelsea Hospital: Mattarella on a Maserati, Steinmeier on a BMW and the King of Sweden obviously on a Volvo, while the Australian Prime Minister has diplomatically opted for a Jaguar.

There were a few precedents in the story for yesterday’s funeral: the funeral of Mandela in 2013, those of Pope John Paul II in 2005, those of Winston Churchill in 1965. The farewell to the last British royals had instead taken place in Windsor chapel: but even Westminster was tight for Elizabeth. Because, as French President Macron said, for you Brits she was your queen, but for us she was The Queen.

In fact, the last truly imperial figure disappears with Elizabeth: even before taking the throne, you make the famous promise to serve our great imperial family to which we all belong for a lifetime. Having become sovereign, it reigned over territories from Africa to Asia to Oceania: a mosaic of nations that Elizabeth successfully transformed into the Commonwealth, an organization that welcomes two and a half billion people under its banner and that has also attracted countries , from Mozambique to Rwanda, which had not been British dominions.

But Elizabeth’s appeal also went beyond the borders of the former empire, subjugating even countries like the United States with her charm: she was the mystique of a monarchy with its millennial rituals and ceremonies, perfectly declined at every coronation, wedding or funeral. A tangible sign of the living relationship with the past and with the tradition that everyone ends up yearning for and that the other European monarchies certainly cannot restore.

And finally Elisabetta acted as an unparalleled multiplier of soft power British: shewhich in its 70-year reign has visited nearly 120 countries, he embodied like no one the drive of a nation that has always been global in heritage and perspectives and which remains so, despite recent political turmoil. After all, the City of London remains one of the world’s two financial lungs, along with Wall Street, universities such as Oxford and Cambridge attract students from all over the globe, popular culture has been nourished by what is blossoming in Britain for decades, from the Beatles onwards. And the icastic synthesis of all this was perhaps, coincidentally, the planetary success of The Crownthe tv series about the Crown.

for all these reasons that what was seen yesterday in Westminster Abbey will be remembered as an unrepeatable event: because a figure like Elizabeth will be impossible to replicate.

September 19, 2022 (change September 19, 2022 | 23:59)

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The royals, then the politicians. And Biden finds himself in row number 14

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