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Windsor says goodbye to a much-loved Queen – and neighbour

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To the thousands of people who gathered outside Windsor Castle today she was their Queen, but to many of them she was also their neighbour.

The Royal Family has been associated with Windsor for generations, and Her Majesty was a welcome and frequent sight for those who live in the historic market town.

For them the death of the Queen is more than the loss of a monarch, they have lost part of their home.

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The Ceremonial Procession of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II travels down the Long Walk as it arrives at Windsor Castle for the Committal Service at St George's Chapel. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.

Richard Endacott, 47, proudly holding a Union Flag over one shoulder, lives just a mile-and-a-half away from the Long Walk and Windsor Castle.

He was among the crowds in attendance, waiting to say one last goodbye to the late monarch ahead of her committal service in St George’s Chapel.

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Coffin reaches Windsor’s Long Walk

He told Sky News: “The Queen was such an important part of Windsor. It’s going to be a big loss for the town.

“She was friendly, approachable, always stopping and having conversations, particularly with us local people who would see her quite regularly.”

He added: “(She was) someone who was like a figurehead and like a place of reference for the nation, it’s bigger than the monarchy itself, she has been such an important part right through my life.”

Richard Endacott

His niece, 15-year-old Ffion Lewis, said the Queen had “so much love for Windsor” as she and her uncle looked around at the assembled crowds.

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As the afternoon drew on, crowds stretched as far as the eye could see.

For much of the day they had been watching events happening 25 miles away in London, broadcast on screens along the road that leads to the castle.

But as 3pm approached, an air of expectancy was palpable as Windsor became the centre of events.

The air vibrated with the sound of cannon fire, muted but no less felt around the Long Walk.

The hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth is escorted along the Long Walk towards Windsor castle in the funeral procession, on the day of the state funeral and burial of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in Windsor, Britain, September 19, 2022 REUTERS/Paul Childs

As the Queen’s coffin in the state hearse approached, the faint murmurs of the already quiet crowd were silenced.

People craned their necks, stood on tiptoes and lifted their camera phones – anything to get a final glimpse of Queen Elizabeth.

As the hearse and procession passed through the castle gates and headed towards St George’s Chapel, the crowd broke out into widespread applause.

It was a day to bid farewell to a monarch who had reigned steadily for seven decades, and it was clear that she held a place in the hearts of the thousands who had come to Windsor.

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Queen at Windsor for final resting place

But underneath the sombre tone there were also pockets of joy: a woman reunited with her bridesmaid after nine years, and new friends exchanging phone numbers.

Louise Bellamy, who attended with her children, said today’s events in Windsor mark “the end of an era”.

“It’s a moment we will never see again, it’s good for the kids to be learning and experiencing it.”

Louise Bellamy

Asked what strikes her about the Queen’s legacy, she added: “Just how loved she was and how well respected – it’s the end of an era for so many people.

“I think she would have been honoured to have so many people from all over the world turning up to pay their respects.”

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