More than 5,000 police officers lined the 2.6 mile funeral cortege route of PC Keith Palmer, the 48-year-old husband and father, who was killed by Khalid Masood in the Westminster terror attack.
The Queen had given special permission for PC Palmer’s body to rest in Westminster’s Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, an honour normally reserved for senior figures. Flanked by a police escort in a what was described as a ‘full-force’ funeral, the cortege travelled down Millbank before crossing Lambeth bridge where thousands of mourners paid their respects.
From there, the procession travelled along Borough High Street and onto Cathedral Palace, before stopping outside the Southwark Cathedral garden entrance ahead of the 2pm funeral. A floral tribute left on top of the hearse read: “No 1 daddy”, while flags flew at half mast above New Scotland Yard to honour PC Palmer.
The service, which was being attended by around 50 members of PC Palmer’s family including his wife, child, parents, brother and sisters, was then followed a private cremation.
The funeral is the first engagement for new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, and Chief Constable Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said the scale of the funeral was unprecedented.
“I don’t think we will have ever seen a police funeral of this size,” she said to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show. “Officers from all over the country are coming to London to join their Metropolitan Police colleagues to line the route. We all want to pay honour to the ultimate sacrifice that Keith made.”
In a generous move, Virgin Trains East Coast allowed police to travel to London for free on its trains from Leeds, Wakefield Westgate, Harrogate and Skipton for PC Keith Palmer’s funeral.
PC Palmer was a lifelong supporter and season ticket holder at Charlton FC. The club paid tribute to him by donating half of the ticket sales, as well as Charlton’s players’ match fees from the match against MK Dons on April 4 to his family.
Charlton placed a scarf over PC Palmer’s seat up until last week’s game, and have also announced they will create a memorial stone at The Valley, which will be located near a statue of their record appearance-holder Sam Bartram.