Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Crowds gather in silent tribute to Queen in Belfast to watch state funeral

People in the grounds of Belfast City Hall watch Queen Elizabeth II funeral on a large screen. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
People in the grounds of Belfast City Hall watch Queen Elizabeth II funeral on a large screen. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.

Despite the size of the crowd, silence pervaded.

Some dressed in suits and black ties, others in T-shirts and jeans.

Veterans wore polished medals while tourists perched on the edge of sturdy suitcases.

Some sat on blankets, others stood throughout. A young boy made room beside him on his fold-out chair for his Paddington Bear teddy.

Queen Elizabeth II funeral
Tom Murray (9) with his Paddington Bear that has a special message thanking the Queen (Liam McBurney/PA)

The gathering on the lawns outside Belfast City Hall was diverse, but its purpose was unifying – to pay respects to the late Queen.

Amid the warm September sunshine, hundreds watched in quiet reverence.

Wearing a platinum jubilee T-shirt, and sitting on a stool draped in a Union flag, Simon Freedman struggled to hold back tears as the big screen showed members of the royal family singing the Lord Is My Shepherd.

For the 51-year-old from Coleraine, the Queen’s funeral held added poignancy.

He had travelled down to Belfast in part to pay tribute to the memory of his own mother, Olive Sarah Freedman, who was a big royal fan and died in 2020 from Covid-19 at the age of 79.

“The fact we couldn’t have a service because of the lockdown in 2020, today kind of did that as well for me,” he said.

“My mother’s favourite hymn was the Lord Is My Shepherd, so it was quite fitting.

“I knew when that hymn came on, I’d shed a tear.”

Nine-year-old Tom Murray, from east Belfast, was the young boy with the Paddington teddy.

“She was a great monarch and the longest reigning monarch,” he said.

“She helped a lot of charities as well, so she was a really, really good monarch.

“The funeral was very sad, the King looked like he was crying.”

Tom’s mother, Eleanor Smith, said she drew some comfort from watching the funeral with others.

“It was really emotional, it’s just a lovely fitting tribute to the Queen,” she said.

“My sister said she would be too emotional to come in, but I found that it sort of helped a bit, it helped to see the people here watching, you feel that sense of everybody joined together.”

Husband and wife Glyn and Judy Yeates were visiting Belfast from their home in Northallerton in North Yorkshire.

“It was absolutely marvellous, very heart-rending and it was very well deserved,” said Mrs Yeates.

“You felt as if you were in among it all, it was beautiful.”

Queen Elizabeth II funeral
Simon Freedman from Coleraine watches Queen Elizabeth II funeral on a large screen in grounds of Belfast City Hall (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Yeates said the outpouring of grief for the Queen was entirely understandable.

“She deserves every second of what the country has given her, what the world has given her,” he said.

City Hall may have been the largest public showing of the funeral in Belfast, but it was not the only such event.

Other lower key community-based gatherings took place elsewhere in the city.

One was hosted by Christ Church Presbyterian Church in Dundonald.

Copies of the order of service were handed out to those who came to the church on Monday morning, with tea and biscuits also on offer.

Church minister Reverend Richard McIlhatton said it was important to give people a chance to be together, as he acknowledged some may feel particularly alone or isolated on such a mournful day.

“There is a real sense of loss within the congregation and the wider community,” he said

“The Queen was someone who was deeply loved and respected, so there is that sense of grieving.

“I think as people we have been made to be together and to be part of a community.

“Often people value that opportunity to feel that sense of shared grief and have that time to come together.”