I saw more than grief for Our Queen, it was a family’s grief, and we mourned with them

Categories: People & Places.

Sue Ryder Nurse, Sophie Brew, from Peterborough, speaks about the huge range of emotions she felt attending The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II to represent the charity she works for.

Sophie, who is the Ward Manager of the Inpatient Unit at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough was invited to attend The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II to represent Sue Ryder, for whom The Queen was Royal Patron since 1993.

“When I found out that I had been invited to attend I felt really overwhelmed,” shares Sophie. “I felt an overwhelming sense of pride for our charity being asked to attend. I felt nervous as it is such a momentous event and I felt sadness too at what I knew would be an incredibly sad occasion.”

“I have not really had a chance to process it all. I received the invitation at the weekend, travelled to London for The State Funeral Service on Monday and when I woke up Tuesday it was straight up and back to work. I haven’t even had the time to tell my colleagues about it! I need time to really appreciate what has happened,” shared Sophie.

As a nurse, Sophie is used to early starts and she was up at 4.30am to catch the train to London. “I caught the 6am train on Monday morning to get to Westminster on time and there were lots of people on the train with flowers heading to Green Park. When I arrived to the tube station to walk to Westminster Abbey the streets of London were eerily quiet. It didn’t feel like London at all. The roads were silent.”

Inside Westminster Abbey Sophie took her seat alongside people with MBEs and representatives from a number of other charities in The Nave.

“It sounds strange to say, but it was so lovely to meet so many new people. I was sat talking to a number ladies on the MBE list and to people from different charities. Everyone felt a sense of being so fortunate that we were there.

“There was lots of talking when we arrived and were ushered in to sit down. We were getting to know each other and sharing our stories. We all said how surreal it was, how fortunate we were and how we would all remember this for the rest of our lives.

“As world leaders began to walk in it became quiet. And then as members of the Armed Forces marched in and stood down the aisles we could hear the Procession outside Westminster. As the Procession came closer, the pipe music and drumming became louder and inside Westminster Abbey silence fell as we all reflected on what was happening outside.”

Sophie shares she felt every emotion possible during the service.

“I felt dazzled by it all to be honest. I can’t put it into words. To start with I felt overwhelmed and then as we watched our Armed Forces and the Pallbearing Party with such a huge responsibility on their shoulders I felt a huge amount of pride for everyone who had come together to create something so spectacular in support of The Queen.”

“Yet all of these emotions were replaced by such sorrow for Members of the Royal Family as they walked in. I felt a surge of empathy towards a family who had just lost their family member.”

A congregation of about 2,000 people attended the State Funeral at Westminster Abbey.

“The Service was very respectful,” shared Sophie. “It was grand but at the same time you could see it was also incredibly personal to The Queen.

“When everyone sang the national anthem at the end of the service the power people put into singing gave me goosebumps. It was so moving. It was the first time I had sang the words ‘God Save The King’ and it was so emotional.

“Then seeing the Royal Family following the Coffin outside Westminster Abbey it really hit me. It was the realization that yes she was Our Queen, but she was the Royal Family’s mother and their grandmother.

“At that moment I saw more than a grief for Our Queen, it was a family’s grief and we mourned with them.”

Sophie says the honour of representing the charity she works for at The State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is something she will always remember.

“I am always proud to do anything I can to support Sue Ryder as I feel so passionate about what we do and our charity. Sue Ryder is special to me and to have had Queen Elizabeth II as our Royal Patron, supporting and celebrating our work, has meant so much to us all.”

“In the years to come I will tell my children and grandchildren just how honoured and how lucky I was to be able to be a part of this. I will also share with them just how much The Queen did for our generation. Our Queen was always there for us and it was a huge honour to be there at her funeral.”

For more information on Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/thorpehall


Pictured: Sue Ryder Nurse, Sophie Brew, ward manager on the inpatient unit at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice represented Sue Ryder at the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

About Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice

  • Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice is the only specialist palliative care inpatient unit in Peterborough.
  • We provide expert palliative care and support for people who are living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families.
  • Our multi-disciplinary team includes doctors, nurses, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, complementary therapy, bereavement counsellors, and psychological and spiritual support.
  • We also offer a variety of other services, including a Hospice at Home service for people who prefer to receive palliative care at home, family and bereavement support, complementary therapies and spiritual care.
  • Our staff and volunteers provide people with the compassion and expert care they need, to help them live the best life they can.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *