Kuwaitis learned on Sunday that their ruler, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, had died.
Thousands gathered outside the emir's palace in Kuwait City waiting for the start of his funeral procession.
Kuwaiti policemen handed out bottles of water to the mourners waiting for a last glimpse of their leader.
There was much grief for the emir, who had survived an assassination attempt in 1985 and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.
Sheikh Jaber had been in ill health, and was seldom seen in public. But this appears not to have affected people's feelings for him.
Many remembered his life - including electoral reforms and preparations for women to be given the vote.
Sheikh Jaber's body was wrapped in a flag and carried in the simplest of coffins.
Kuwaitis on the procession route surged towards the coffin and reached out to touch it as it headed for burial in an unmarked grave.