Royal Air Force pay subtle tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on plane for her final flight


    The Royal Air Force (RAF) paid a subtle tribute to the Queen with their choice of aircraft to carry her coffin to London from Edinburgh. The clever nod to Her Majesty was picked up on by airplane captain Dave Wallsworth.

    The captain said on Twitter: “Now we all know that very few people would ever call Her Late Majesty anything but Elizabeth but this was a lovely touch by the Royal Air Force to use this registration aircraft for her final flight.”

    The registration for the aircraft was “ZZI77”, appearing similar to “Lizz” on the side of the plane.

    The RAF C-17 Globemaster carried Her Majesty’s coffin, accompanied by her daughter Princess Anne, from St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh to London yesterday. It arrived in northwest London just before 7pm.

    Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston told Sky News: “It’s a C-17 Globemaster, which is our strategic airlifter. But on this very sad occasion, it will be carrying Her Majesty’s coffin down from Edinburgh to RAF Northolt.”

    He added to BBC Breakfast: “Today is the day that we have long, long planned for but hoped would never come.”

    The Chief Marshal was part of the reception party at RAF Northolt, and was part of the royal salute as the coffin was then moved into the hearse. Sir Mike praised the Queen’s interest in new technology and noted that when she began her reign, the RAF was flying Lancaster and Spitfire planes.

    He said: “As one of the many chiefs that she’s seen over her 70-year reign, [she had] a depth of wisdom and interest in geopolitics or interest in the technology of today. And when you look at the technology and her interest in that, again, it speaks to somebody who right to the end kept this close affinity and a close interest.”

    The C-17 Globemaster was the same Royal Air Force plane as which, last summer, was used to evacuate thousands of people fleeing the Taliban after Afghanistan fell to the militant group. It has also been used to carry supplies to Ukraine.

    According to the RAF, it is a “long-range, heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft” used for “combat, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions worldwide”.

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    “But we stand ready to serve His Majesty the King in the same way.”

    A procession, led by King Charles III, took the coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall today. It will remain there for four days, known as “lying-in-state” prior to the funeral.

    Members of the public will be able to pass the Queen’s coffin 24 hours a day from 5pm on Wednesday 14 until 6.30am on the day of the funeral.


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