Queen Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren held a 15-minute vigil at their grandmother’s coffin. At the request of her father King Charles III. Both heir to the throne Prince William (40) and Prince Harry (38) wore military uniforms. At previous ceremonies, unlike his brother, Harry, who served in Afghanistan, wore civilian clothes – he had to relinquish his military titles when he left the royal family.
After Prince Andrew, who had to resign from his official duties in the Royal Family after his involvement in an abuse scandal, was allowed to wear a uniform at a wake by the Queen’s children, there was criticism – and Harry was finally allowed to wear a uniform as an exception.
The remaining granddaughters wore formal black attire. William and Harry stood at the head and foot of the coffin. Along the long sides and lined up were the children of Queen daughter Princess Anne, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, and Prince Andrew’s daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie. The Queen’s youngest grandchildren, Lady Louise and Viscount Severn, Prince Edward’s children, also attended the special farewell to their “grannie”.
There was almost dead silence around the coffin during the wake, although many Britons attended the grandchildren’s performance after waiting hours in line at Westminster Hall.
24 hours waiting time for queen farewell
Meanwhile, the rush to say goodbye to the Queen’s coffin does not stop. Thousands of mourners waited several kilometers along the Thames in London to pay their respects to the Queen. Authorities estimated the wait for those who queued on Saturday at more than 24 hours.
The closed coffin of the Queen is laid out in the Westminster Hall of the British Parliament until Monday morning before the state funeral for the Queen, who sat on the throne for 70 years. Her eight grandchildren – including Princes William and Harry – will hold a 15-minute vigil on Saturday night.
An incident occurred late Friday night when a man attempted to touch the coffin. The Metropolitan Police said the man had been arrested for violating the Public Order Act.
The king at his mother’s coffin
Previously, King Charles III. and his siblings – also for a quarter of an hour – took over the wake at the coffin. King Charles III (73), Princess Anne (72), Prince Andrew (62) and Prince Edward (58) positioned themselves in the evening – all in uniform – around the coffin, put their hands together and looked down. Many other members of the Royal Family attended the wake from a podium on the edge of Westminster Hall in Parliament.
The wake was reportedly the only occasion at the celebrations that Prince Andrew was allowed to wear a uniform. The Queen stripped her second eldest son of all military ranks earlier this year for his involvement in the abuse scandal surrounding the late US multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein. At all other ceremonies he was dressed in civilian clothes.
Elizabeth II died on Thursday September 8th at the age of 96 at her Scottish country estate of Balmoral Castle. Her coffin was brought to Scotland’s capital Edinburgh on Sunday and then to London on Tuesday evening. There, the closest family to Charles led him on Wednesday afternoon in a solemn procession from Buckingham Palace to Parliament, where he has been laid out ever since.
Countless people have taken the opportunity to pause at the coffin since Wednesday. On the night of Saturday, helpers distributed free tea, coffee and water as well as blankets, as eyewitnesses reported. At London’s Waterloo station, an empty train is available at night as a staging post for those who don’t come home at night after being at the coffin. At least those waiting can probably leave their umbrellas at home at the weekend. The British weather service predicted sunny weather for Saturday with maximum temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius in the British capital. It should also remain dry on Sunday, and sunshine is expected for the state funeral on Monday.
Van der Bellen travels to England
Hundreds of monarchs, heads of state and government from all over the world are expected in London for the state funeral on Monday, including Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. After a service at Westminster Abbey, the coffin is taken in a procession to Wellington Arch, the route takes in The Mall and past Buckingham Palace. Such a ceremony has not taken place in Britain since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965, the BBC reported. Among the guests is the Japanese Emperor Naruhito on his first trip abroad since ascending the throne in 2019. His participation is considered a special honor, as Japanese monarchs never actually attend funerals.
The actual burial will not take place in London, but in Windsor to the west. Several soldiers rehearsed there for the ceremony on Saturday night. The coffin is taken to Windsor in a hearse. The Queen is to receive her final resting place on Monday evening at a private funeral in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle – alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year. (apa)