Manchester United in mourning to provide a final farewell fit for a king. Because Sir Bobby Charlton was footballing royalty.
And his iconic standing in the pantheon of sporting legend was reflected in the sombre but seismic celebration of his remarkable life inside Manchester Cathedral.
We all know how much he achieved – but being there to be reminded of it felt like a humbling privilege. Around 1,000 people packed into the building – and it felt like time stood still.
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And the famous faces paying their respects to the great man proved the esteem in which he was held. And always will be.
Genuine royalty, in the shape of the Prince of Wales, who is also FA President, took his seat close to Charlton's coffin next to England boss Gareth Southgate.
Sir Alex Ferguson sat nearby, along with a host of past and current United stars including Harry Maguire, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Brian Kidd, Mark Hughes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano attended, while Real Madrid sent their own legend to represent them, with Emilio Butragueno sitting alongside former Premier League boss Richard Scudamore.
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Charlton embodied what United have stood for down the decades.
Success, humility, respect and dignity.
Qualities which seeped through the silence inside the cathedral's vast hall, on a poignant day with which to remember not just an iconic World Cup winning footballer, but also a man whose charitable work and contributions to society were immense.
In the absence of United owners the Glazers, it was left to Fergie and David Gill to represent the club Charlton served with astonishing distinction.
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In Gill's moving eulogy, the former United CEO broke down when recalling how surviving the 1958 Munich Air Disaster had shaped Charlton's life at the age of just 20.
Gill said: "When talking about the man, you never needed to say anything other than Sir Bobby.
"Everyone around the world knew who you were talking about. No surname needed. Bobby's name is synonymous with all that is good about the English game.
"Bobby was an example to us all in so many ways, not least in the remarkable resolve he showed after the Munich disaster when he lost dear friends on that terrible day.
"Reflecting now, I would have liked to have talked to him more about Munich, and how he coped in the aftermath, but Bobby dealt with it in his own way – private, stoical and dignified.
"An icon of Manchester for all he did for United , a national treasure as the epitome of the very best of English sport and a man loved and admired across the globe – the world football family has lost a legend of the game."
Other wonderful tributes came from John Shiels, CEO of the Manchester United Foundation and Charlton's grandson, William Balderstone.
And what stood out was that, no matter how much Charlton loved football, it was never quite as much as he loved his family.
He achieved it all, including winning the Ballon d'Or in 1966 and European Cup two years later.
And in a career spanning almost 1,000 games, he got booked just twice and was never sent off. "To me that says it all," added Gill, "you can be a superstar, and a fierce competitor, whilst still being a gentleman."
The world needs more human beings in it like Charlton. He made it feel a better place – and will now be a much poorer one without him.
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