LONDON – Almost 2,000 guests attended the elaborate state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. But just one of them had eight legs.
An uninvited critter somehow made it to the service at Westminster Abbey, catching a ride atop the late monarch’s coffin and burrowing itself in a wreath of flowers and foliage cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
Footage on social media showed the spider scurrying across a note written by King Charles III, which read: “In loving and devoted memory. Charles R.” The arachnid eventually disappeared from sight, back into the bouquet, not to be seen again.
“The most famous spider in the world right now,” read one tweet. “Er, were you invited, mate?” questioned another.
Others hailed “the little guy” for its bravery, stepping out as much of the nation fell silent and ground to a halt Monday. The spider, it seemed, quickly won the hearts of eagle-eyed social media watchers who hailed its presence. “God save the Royal Spider,” read one tweet.
Others empathized with the creature, which swiftly and perhaps unintentionally found a solid fan base on the worldwide . . . web.
“Imagine you’re a spider in the garden and you fall asleep in a pink rose,” one person wrote. “When you wake up, you stretch all your little legs and realise that you’re suddenly naked in Westminster Abbey, on top of the Queen’s coffin in front of world leaders and billions of people.”
The spider was riding alongside the dazzling Imperial State Crown and the oversized bouquet of flowers that included rosemary for remembrance; English oak, which represents the strength of love; and myrtle, a plant that symbolizes a happy marriage.
Buckingham Palace said the wreath was made in an environmentally sustainable way, at the request of Charles.
With the arrival of fall, spider season begins in Britain, a period dreaded by many who are shocked when the arachnids pop up in their homes. It usually begins in the first or second week of September, as the temperature outside dips and the creatures head indoors for warmth.
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Annabelle Timsit in London contributed to this report.