ITV News Central reporter reflects on day at the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II

Credit: ITV News Central

There are times in life that you know you will never forget and there's two moments from today that I know will stay with me forever.

Getting to go to London to report on the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II was a privilege.

My cameraman/producer Raheem and I had the great job of telling the story of the momentous day, from the point of view of the many thousands of people who lined the streets of London.

To do it, we started the day early and joined a group from Birmingham on the train who were making their way down to pay their respects.

There were nine of them, including three generations of the same family, family friends and two sisters they had just met on the train!

Credit: ITV News Central

It was lovely to share the day with people who clearly felt so passionately about giving thanks to The Queen in person. They even started their day at 4am to do so.

But, if you think that that early a start would mean you would find a good spot to watch the funeral from, then you’d be mistaken.

We headed towards The Mall shortly after 8am, only to discover it was closed as so many people had already had the same idea.

Our plans changed and we headed to Hyde Park.

Being there was a surreal experience.

The last time I had been in the park was for a concert, and, whilst a lot of the set up was the same -  food trucks, toilets and big screens - the atmosphere was completely different.

A huge amount of people were wearing black, and the mood, although friendly, was sombre and reflective.

As the funeral started on the big screens, the first of the days 'moments I'll never forget' happened.

Being outside, with thousands of people, but sitting in near silence, all listening and watching the same thing is very moving.

It brought home just how people feel about the late Queen, and why she means so much.

For the group we were with, watching the funeral on a screen wasn’t enough.

To be honest with you, I was quite pleased as I shared their view.

I wanted to see The Queen in person to say a final goodbye.

As the routes for the procession were closed, our only option was to line the road where the hearse was due to drive down on its journey from Wellington Arch to Windsor. 

In my opinion, the following two hours standing in the increasingly warm weather showed the very best of humanity.

Everyone was chatting to each other, letting shorter people and children through to get a better view, and they all showed a patience that demonstrated their huge respect for The Queen.

We all knew that we would only see the hearse for a few seconds, but we were prepared to wait for as long as was needed to get that moment.

When the moment came, whilst brief, it was worth it - the second moment of the day I will simply never forget.

The crowd cheered, people shouted ‘god bless’ and ‘thank you’ and the family I had spent the day with shed a tear whilst hugging each other.

The long hours of travelling and walking around London were all made worth it for those brief seconds, catching a final glimpse of Her Majesty as she made her final journey.

For me, while holding the camera high to get the best shot, I took a second to take in the view in person.

It was a privilege to not only record a moment of history today, but to live it alongside others to whom it meant so much.