As people all over the world tuned in to say a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, I was on the ground in London.
While I’ve spent years overseas covering events for E! News, getting to return to the U.K. for this goodbye was a chapter I’ll never forget.
For generations of Brits like myself, the monarch was a constant throughout our lives—turning to her for words of wisdom during her Christmas Day address and stalwart public broadcasts during the coronavirus pandemic. For me, she was one of the first beacons of a strong woman I ever knew—the definition of grace but never weak, charming and funny when it was most unexpected.
To join with the public in saying goodbye to the late monarch was one of the greatest honors of my life.
I started my day outside the gates of Buckingham Palace at 5:30 a.m. BST before moving to the courtyard at Westminster Abbey, where Her Majesty’s storied life was being commemorated in a state funeral. I watched as her coffin, draped in the royal standard, was hoisted from the gun carriage by eight soldiers from Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. The pallbearers, who were drafted from service, stood dignified, not breaking a sweat.