24 hour wait for Queen farewell: Surprise visit from King Charles and William in line
King Charles III and heir to the throne Prince William paid a surprise visit to the kilometer-long queue to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II in London. Father and son turned up near Lambeth Palace on the south bank of the River Thames on Saturday lunchtime.
They spoke to those waiting for up to 24 hours to pay the Queen a final visit and say goodbye. The crowd greeted the two royals with applause, cheers and shouts of “God save the King”.
“I hope you’re not too cold,” the new king said to a woman waiting in line, according to the TBEN. Temperatures had hit single digits in London overnight. A security guard warned those waiting to “put away their cell phones, shake hands and enjoy the moment”.
Meanwhile, the rush to say goodbye to the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II does not stop. Thousands of mourners wait 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, is due. 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 was arrested on charges of violating the Public Order Act.
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.
An empty train for those who can’t make it home
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.
When the Queen’s grandchildren keep the wake at the coffin this Saturday evening, Prince William, who has become heir to the throne, should stand on his head and Prince Harry on his foot, as the British news agency PA learned from palace sources. At the request of her father King Charles III. both brothers will wear their military uniform. At previous ceremonies, unlike his brother, Harry, who served in Afghanistan, wore a frock coat – he had to relinquish his military titles with his self-imposed farewell from the closer circle of the royal family. Harry now lives in the United States with his wife Meghan and their children Archie and Lilibet.
The Queen’s other granddaughters will wear formal black suits or dresses at the wake, it said. The children of Queen’s daughter Princess Anne, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, are said to be at William’s side. Flanking Harry are Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. The Queen’s youngest grandsons, Lady Louise and Viscount Severn, Prince Edward’s children, are positioned in the middle of the coffin. The grandchildren are very anxious to pay their respects to the dead queen, it said.
State funeral on Monday
Hundreds of monarchs, heads of state and government from all over the world are expected in London for the state funeral on Monday. After a service at Westminster Abbey, the coffin is brought in a procession to Wellington Arch, the route takes you along The Mall and past Buckingham Palace. Such a ceremony has not taken place in Britain since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965, the TBEN 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. (dpa)