After a respectable time of mourning it has become necessary to do our inevitable post, as a full report on the funeral of Empress Crystobel that took place on 2nd of August 2013 at midday.
The funeral was not a State Funeral per sé but was entirely sponsored and officially sanctioned by the Britanian Democratic Government in lieu of The Empress' death taking place whilst under their patronage on Britanian soil and as a confirmed assassination. Thus the only appropriate venue was agreed to be the official Royal Cathedral in the Britanian capital, Cathédrale du Cœur de Lion. This would have been the venue officiating at the Empress' funeral if she and her husband were not deposed in 1996. Understandably, security was extra tight.
The Cathedral has only served as a memorial museum and "local" parish church since the 96 Revolution but was prepared in full splendour as of old for this very unique and poignant funeral. The coffin was brought and placed in the Cathedral the day before the funeral and left to lay "en repose" until the traditional Vigil of the Princes.
His Eminence the Blue Cardinal, Pastor of the Flock Royal also had his exile lifted in order to return to what would have been his seat if there had been no revolution. The Cathedral of the Heart of the Lion served as the center of Christendom and was officiated over by the Blue Cardinal in the Pre-Revolution days. Here he spoke and ministered on behalf of the traveling Mithrandir, the head of the Church Temporal. As per tradition the Blue Cardinal presides over all Royal Funerals and has thus also been restored to the Cathedral and his function as of this event.
The Vigil of the Princes is the religious duty of the closest male relations of the Royal being buried. The Princes stand is silent and prayerful vigil for an hour before the actual service while the body of the deceased lays in state. A traditional Laying in State could take several days in the former Empire as its function was for the common man to queue and view the deceased monarch. As a technically deposed head of state, the Empress' funeral was decidedly more private and less "official".
After the Vigil of the Princes, the Family Wreath and Imperial Crown was placed on the coffin. It is then also finally sealed and the commemoration service then officially began with the invited family and guests arriving.
Leading the mourners, the Crown Prince Imperial and his wife greeted the family and friends as they arrived. The not well known tradition of the "Privilege du Blanc" was evident in Princess Odeliah's very formal ankle length white dress and veil. Imperial Princesses are obliged to wear white when inside the Cathedral of the Lion Heart for funerals while others must wear black.
The Family of the Duke of Swann were out in force in support of their Imperial cousin.
The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Hanoveria represented their side of the family along with his mother and two sisters.
In the second row we see starting from the right Princess Kirsten Youssopoff, the King of Syldavia, the Queen of Syldavia and the Prime Minister of Britania.
Princess Augusta, being unmarried remains a Princess of the Empire and can be seen in the back also wearing the "Privilege du Blanc". She is standing next to the Queen of Hispania and directly in front is Empress Crystobel's sister, the Dowager Grand Duchess of Hanoveria, Princess Beatrice.
The service as it began...
A bird's eye view of the coffin was accomplished by a camera set up in the rafters. The press was afforded discreet but full access to this internationally important event.
Bringing a message condemning unnecessary violence but praising the virtues of hope conquering adversity, the Blue Cardinal spoke powerfully from the Lion's Voice Pulpit. He also encouraged those facing adversity and tragedy by looking to God for His strength and guidance. The Imperial Family was upheld always being an example to all and even in this strives to set a standard to others.
Princess Beatrice, wrote a poem in honour of her sister and was given a moment to share it. The poem is written in the first person.
What is a life?
But a string of days
A web of choices
In the midst of a maze
My country I served
And humbly I declare
No sacrifice was too big
For me as Empress to bear
My husband my councilor
Equal partner, my friend
How cruel was your departure
My heart broken
My son such a blessing
To his country and his name
May you forgive my absence?
My Untimely departure is my only regret
To my faceless, nameless foe
How cruel your lashes have been
If only you could find a voice
One less violent and less mean
But as I look on old days past
With tears but also pride
I look ahead at days to come
My final tear I've cried.
The Crown Prince Imperial also spoke in honour of his mother, regretting only the short time they had together. "Forgiveness is the true hallmark of Royalty" he said and he vowed to make his mother proud by serving his peoples regardless of how they accept or reject him.
Lit candles signifying the light and transiency of this life but also the hope of its emanation into the next, brought the service to its end with the benediction.
Preparation to carry the coffin was made as the famous hymn "How Great Tho Art" was sung by the congregation. The pall bearers then took their positions.
The pall bearers included the four closest related men to the Empress and two soldiers, one from the armed forces of Britania, the other from the Scot navy. The Crown Prince Imperial and the Duke of Swann at the Head, the somber exit out of the cathedral began.
Exiting the front of the cathedral the coffin proceeded down the stairs before it was lifted upon the waiting gun carriage.
It is a tradition, honouring all former or current Heads of States by transporting their coffins to their final resting place on a gun carriage, signifying their authority and power.
A truly emotional moment came as Pre 96 Revolution Veterans saluted the late Empress's coffin.
The Police escort signify the commencement of the processional drive to the Imperial Mausoleum.
The Imperial Family was to follow by car until the gates of the Imperial Mausoleum Park from where only the closest family proceeded on foot.
The arrival at the doors of the Mausoleum proper brought the gun carriage to its final stop.
The Pall Bearers with the onlooking Crown Princess Imperial prepare for the final internment as the doors of the Mausoleum are unlocked.
An Imperial Honour Guard played the old Imperial Anthem as the doors were to be opened.
And so the journey of Her Imperial Majesty Empress Crystobel came to its final resting place.
The Crown Prince Imperial, strictly speaking, Emperor d'jour of the United Empire and his Empress shared a quiet and private moment as they laid the wreath at the now resealed doors of the Mausoleum.
May God bless and keep them.
The media was given full access but remained discreet. Without being invasive at all many newspapers and live feeds on the Internet shared this historic event with the world. Now months later we are all beginning to move ahead. We will honour the Empress by making the most of the baton she has passed to us and our generation.