There is a degree of culture shock when watching Britain grieve – The Irish Times

In Ireland, we take our funerals as much as we do tea: quick, talkative and with the least amount of fuss. So there is a degree of culture shock watching Britain mourn its queen.

This is especially true of the funeral coverage, which unfolds on BBC One and Sky News so seriously that you often find yourself wondering if you’ve muted it by accident. But, no, it’s only the UK being muted when saying goodbye to Queen Elizabeth.

It is this silence that struck you as you covered the party at Westminster Abbey and the long procession through London.

BBC presenters adopted a funeral whisper. Commenting on the column from Westminster through the British capital by Hugh Edwards, his voice is so low it’s hard to extract much from what he’s saying

BBC presenters adopted a funeral whisper. Commenting on the column from Westminster through the British capital, Hugh Edwards, his voice is too low to extract much from what he is saying.

Usually, the presenter’s job is to bring everything on screen to life. Today, Edwards must achieve the opposite, using appropriately sedative bromides. “The wreath itself, containing flowers and foliage from the Queen’s garden,” he sings, breaking down the fine details of one of the funeral flower arrangements.

It’s a little more audible on Sky, as Anna Potting and Dermot Murnaghan squeeze high-quality style reminiscent of Elves’ lavish oratory in The Lord of the Rings. “The clouds are now broken, and the warmth is on their backs,” Potting says as the sun rises. “There have been many stages in this journey for Her Majesty. That is another thing.”

RTÉ covers the funeral service in Westminster, which includes a homily from the Archbishop of Canterbury. “Today we pray for all of her family – many families mourned at the funeral.” Remove the images on the screen and any parish priest can be at any Irish funeral.

The national broadcaster makes his excuses shortly thereafter and returns to Al-Nahar series. None of that is on the BBC, as the funeral procession – 2km long – is covered from start to finish.

In the midst of pomp and sadness, all too often, every detail catches the eye. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the head of the procession. Prince Andrew is surrounded by people in uniform, so that it appears as if he is under house arrest. In fact, they are his brothers, in their military emblems

The funeral of Britain’s longest-serving King is a historic event, but it’s not the kind of history to provoke blood or have us on the edge of our seats. This is reflective TV and austerity – too slow.

In the midst of pomp and sadness, all too often, every detail catches the eye. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the head of the procession. Prince Andrew is surrounded by people in uniform, so that it appears as if he is under house arrest. (Indeed, it’s his brothers, in their military emblems.) And through it all comes a sense of true sadness pulsing across the screen.

After the coffin was paraded through London on the government cannon carriage, the last leg of the Queen’s journey to Windsor Castle was by heart. With increasing speed, coverage increases. The BBC doesn’t let her hair fall completely, but Kirsty Young is allowed to break the seriousness and make a note of vague gossip.

David Dimbleby, for his part, explains the importance of Sebastopol Bell in Windsor, which was captured in the Crimean War and only rhymed in times of national importance.

To the Irish viewer, perhaps the tale of the Crimean War underscores that while there is grief here over the death of the Queen, and while there will always be a certain amount of commonality between Ireland and the United Kingdom, on days like these, the gulf between the two nations seems wider. And deeper than usual.