The guest added that all of queen's staff and households were present at the private burial.
The Queen's former assistant private secretary attended Queen Elizabeth's committal service at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. She is recalling the most significant moment of the funeral ritual. Watching the Queen's coffin descend into the Royal Vault of the historic chapel made the monarch's passing feel real, according to Samantha Cohen. She told PEOPLE, "You could hear a pin drop at that moment. It's hard to fathom that she's gone. It doesn't seem real." She explained that the royal family appeared "tired" at the Queen's funeral. Her Late Majesty died at Balmoral Castle on September 8, after 70 years of a glorious reign.
The Queen was mourned by her eight grandchildren, their spouses, great-grandchildren Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, 7, as well as her children King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla, Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Cohen added, "It was a shock, and now it's real. And the real mourning starts. The reality of life without the Queen starts now." With 800 attendees as opposed to the 2,000 who gathered at Westminster Abbey for the Queen's official burial earlier in the day, the committal at the chapel felt more private. When Cohen first saw the Queen, she was a high school student. She never would have dreamed, forty years ago, that she would work for the Queen and, over the course of her 17 years with the royal family, grow to be one of her most dependable assistants, per Mama Mia.
She said of the funeral service, "It was very intimate as all the Queen's personal staff and her households were there. It signaled the transition to the King as we ended with 'God Save the King.' " Cohen continued, "She was bringing together those who'd worked for her for years like her private secretaries and other staff. She included everyone who'd worked with her. It was very inclusive and wasn't hierarchical with her personal staff sitting right on the front."
"It wasn't about rank. It was about personal relationships — that's what was so beautiful about the Queen. She accepted people from all walks of life and the service reflected that. The uniting force was everybody's love for the Queen. She made it special because she made sure that everybody felt important and included."
Although it was painful to be with the extended family without the monarch, the former courtier says it was "lovely" to see them. Cohen added, "It was very odd not to see her. It felt really strange to be in Windsor without her, as you'd see her everywhere."
"It was her home, where she would drive around, or be riding her horse. It feels odd to be there without her." The Queen was buried close to her sister Princess Margaret, her parents King George VI and the Queen Mother, and her devoted husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who passed away in April 2021 at the age of 99.
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