Liz Truss and Lady Scotland were the only two politicians to speak at the Queen’s funeral, giving readings from the Bible.
Truss, who became prime minister two weeks ago, was accompanied by her husband, Hugh O’Leary, for the service at Westminster Abbey. She was greeted by members of the clergy and shook their hands in turn before taking her seat.
She read the second lesson for mourners from John 14 as dignitaries gathered in Westminster Abbey, with a lesson of comfort, evoking the promise of eternal life in heaven. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God,” she read.
Scotland, the secretary general of the Commonwealth and a former attorney general under Labour, gave the first reading, from 1 Corinthians 15.
Among the congregation were all six living former prime ministers: John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Theresa May, David Cameron and Boris Johnson.
There was a brief moment of initial awkwardness as the more recent incumbents – May, Cameron and Johnson – arrived first with their spouses but had to wait for their predecessors to arrive so they could file in according to chronological order.
Many more politicians also attended the funeral from the government and opposition parties, including Keir Starmer, who on Monday praised the royal family for their “absolutely fantastic” handling of the last 10 days. Other senior politicians included the Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
“She was the great constant,” said Sturgeon, adding it was a “great honour” to represent Scotland.
Sinn Féin’s vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, also attended the state funeral, illustrating how far relations have come between her party and the British royal family. “Today I respectfully join leaders from Britain, Ireland and the international community at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II as she is laid to rest,” she said.
“It is a sad day for her family who mourn her loss, and all those of a British identity from across our community who grieve also.”
The last prime minister during the state funeral of a monarch was Winston Churchill, who laid a wreath and message of “For Valour” at the service for King George VI.
After attending the state funeral, Truss made her way separately to Windsor for the smaller committal service for the Queen, with Major and Blair, who are garter knights, also attending. She will later travel to New York for the UN general assembly.