Eyes were filled with tears as the royal hearse gently backed away from Wellington Arch while a military band played the national anthem; more than ever before, it felt like saying goodbye.
Since none were necessary, no words were sung. God Save the King is becoming less and less weird to say each day, yet for 70 years, the Queen owned the song.
She recovered the anthem here for the final time, her burial over, church bells ringing, and the monarch honouring his mother’s coffin.
The hymn played for her, never more poignant or rich in meaning, like the epilogue of a grand motion picture. Maybe it performed for all of us.
Only a few of the 2,000 individuals in the monastery were associated with horse racing. Some of the turf’s most well-known personalities attended the funeral, including those who trained and rode for this sport’s greatest ally, a royal who watched Aureole place second in the Derby just four days after her coronation.
She came back year after year, and even though she won’t come back anymore, a horse bred by the Queen just could make up for her Classic misstep.
Although that horse won’t be Final Choice, at 6.45 in the morning, he was a moving sight at Epsom racetrack.
It appeared to be a scripted situation. The nine-year-old horse circled at the mile post after his morning workout, cooling off against a spectacular dawn sky that seemed to display a blend of the royal racing colours. When he triumphed in a Bath handicap in June 2016, he was owned by the Queen. He now belonged to Michael Jeffries, who still rides him most mornings after riding him in races as an amateur.