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King Charles leads siblings in emotional vigil at Queen’s coffin


London: King Charles has led a moving vigil around the Queen’s coffin while she lies in state at Westminster Hall as the public queue to view the catafalque reached a 24-hour wait on Friday, stretching almost eight kilometres along London’s Thames River.

All of the late monarch’s children – the King, his sister Princess Anne and brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, stood guard near their mother’s body during the 15-minute traditional ceremony that was first carried out in 1936 when King Edward VIII and his three brothers, Princes Albert, Henry and George, stood by the coffin of their late father, King George V.

King Charles III stands vigil beside the coffin of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in Westminster Hall.

King Charles III stands vigil beside the coffin of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in Westminster Hall.Credit:Getty Images

Seven days since the 96-year-old’s death, the senior royals looked exhausted as they stood motionless around the coffin. The emotional moment was also view by several other members of the family, dressed in black, including Queen Consort Camilla, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and her children.

Members of the public who had lined up overnight were able to witness the vigil as they slowly walked past the coffin. Entry to the queue was paused on Friday morning after it reached capacity, and those who joined in the afternoon were told to bring warm clothing because a cold night was expected.

The King, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – all in full military uniform – walked in a diamond formation towards the catafalque of their late mother, the Princess Royal walking with a stick.

They proceeded to stand at all four corners of the coffin, making a public vigil representative of their private grief. The four members of the party walked up the steps before turning their back on the coffin as they joined those guarding it.

Prince Andrew was permitted to wear military attire despite no longer being a working royal.

Prince Andrew was permitted to wear military attire despite no longer being a working royal.Credit:Getty Images

The orb and sceptre that the Queen carried on her coronation have been reunited with the late monarch and sit on the casket.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed a separate vigil will be held by the Queen’s grandchildren on Saturday evening, where Prince Harry, who did two tours in Afghanistan with the British army, will – like Prince Andrew, the Duke of York – be allowed to wear military uniform despite no longer being a working member of the family.



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