Prince George, Princess Charlotte attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte attended her state funeral in Westminster Abbey on Monday.

The two eldest children of Prince William and his wife, Catherine, walked behind their parents and ahead of their aunt and uncle, Prince Harry and Meghan, in the funeral procession following the coffin in the church packed with 2,000 people. Their grandfather King Charles III led the royal family alongside his wife, Camilla, Queen Consort.

Prince George, 9, is second in line to the throne after his father, and his sister, 7, is now third.

Their younger brother, Prince Louis, 4, did not attend. This summer, he captured hearts and headlines after a series of emotional displays on the balcony of Buckingham Palace amid the pomp of the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. He spawned memes and online commentary as he cheekily made faces, clasped his hands over his ears, waved and restlessly yawned.

Some on social media argued that the children may be too young to attend and grapple with the emotional nature of the day, while others said their presence evoked memories of the young William and Harry attending the funeral of their mother, Princess Diana, in the same church in 1997.

Queen Elizabeth II’s royal family tree, visualized: George V to Lilibet

The state funeral began at 11 a.m. local time in the same 13th-century church where Elizabeth was married and had her coronation. Readings were given by religious figures alongside British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Secretary General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland.

The Westminster Abbey tenor bell also tolled once a minute for 96 minutes — each toll representing a year of Elizabeth’s life. Representatives from the Jewish, Bahai, Jain, Buddhist, Muslim and other faith communities also took part in the event.

George celebrated his ninth birthday in July, with the release of a photo showing the young royal wearing baby blue and beaming with a toothy grin. The image was taken by his mom at a beach in Norfolk, in eastern England, in what has become an annual tradition for the birthdays of the children of William and Catherine.

Why is the world so fascinated by Queen Elizabeth II?

The future king was born to much fanfare on July 22, 2013, as reporters and pundits waited outside London’s St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington to catch a glimpse of the royal couple’s firstborn child and heir. Christened a few months later as George Alexander Louis, he is formally known as Prince George of Cambridge, but it’s unclear whether his title will change now that his parents have become the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Like millions of other children across the nation, the royal siblings began their school term earlier this month. No longer based in London, they attend the private Lambrook School, near Windsor. Images of them meeting their new head teacher and holding their parents hands were released.

However, like other young royals before them, they will be largely kept out of the public eye as they grow up. Their family moved from London’s Kensington Palace to Adelaide Cottage, a property near Windsor Castle this summer, among other homes they keep.

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