Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire has ‘mixed emotions’ ahead of attending Queen’s funeral

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The monarch’s representative in Nottinghamshire, Lord-Lieutenant Sir John Peace, says he is feeling ‘mixed emotions’ ahead of Her Majesty’s state funeral on Monday.

Queen Elizabeth II will be laid to rest following a ceremony at Westminster Abbey at 11am, with Sir John to attend the funeral as Her Majesty’s representative for the county.

The Lord-Lieutenant, who knew The Queen personally, has visited her coffin at Westminster Hall as thousands of people line the streets of London to pay their respects to the late Sovereign.

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He says he ‘wasn’t prepared’ mentally to see the coffin lying in state and described it as an ‘inspirational moment’.

Sir John Peace, Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, with some of the tributes laid to the Queen in the county.Sir John Peace, Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, with some of the tributes laid to the Queen in the county.
Sir John Peace, Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, with some of the tributes laid to the Queen in the county.

He said: “I was asked to go onto the balcony overlooking the coffin [in Westminster Hall].

“We stood there to bow our heads and say a prayer to Her Majesty. I’ve been doing royal visits and things like this for a long time, but I wasn’t prepared for that.

“I looked down on the coffin, the crown, the orb and the sceptre and it was inspirational.”

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He also revealed he has been to meet various communities across the county since the Queen’s death on September 8.

He has heard countless views expressing their ‘gratitude’ for Her Majesty’s reign and said it made him feel “proud to be British”.

“Consistent themes came out,” he said. “Respect, gratitude for everything she did as a nation, for the Commonwealth and the importance of this.

“I’ve had the honour and the privilege to listen to so many peoples’ points of view and I feel proud to be British.”

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He said the funeral will be a “fitting farewell” to Her Majesty.

He said: “I’m going to the state funeral so I have mixed emotions – saying goodbye, trepidation at the magnitude of what’s happening – but the arrangements to date have been amazing.

“It will be a fitting farewell to one of the greatest queens in the world and certainly one of the greatest we will probably ever have.

“She’ll be missed by us all, but she’ll always be there in the hearts of the people of Nottinghamshire.”

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King Charles III was proclaimed as the new Monarch last week after ascending to the throne immediately after The Queen’s passing.

Sir John said: “I think The King has done a good job.

“The schedule he’s had to cope with has been immense and you can see the tiredness, the sadness and tears in his eyes, and to march for 40 minutes behind that coffin to Buckingham Palace was quite something.”

Her Majesty’s funeral on Monday will be viewed by millions of people around the world, with the day being declared a bank holiday in the UK to give people the opportunity to pay their respects.

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At 6.30am on Monday, The Queen’s lying in state will end and, in the morning, the coffin will be taken in procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey for the funeral.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will lead the service, which will include heads of state from around the world, members of the Royal Family and senior UK politicians – including the current and former Prime Ministers.