- Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren watch
- The queue to see the Queen’s coffin stretches for 11 a.m.
- World leaders start arriving in London for funerals
LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Princes William and Harry stood vigil at either end of their grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s coffin on Saturday, their heads bowed as a line of mourners walked past the late monarch.
King Charles’ two sons, dressed in military uniforms, stood in silence during a 15-minute vigil in the vast Westminster Hall where the coffin has lain since Wednesday, draped in the royal standard and with the crown of Imperial state adorned with jewels.
William and Harry were joined by their six cousins, including Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, who had previously paid tribute to Britain’s longest-serving monarch. The Queen died on September 8 at her summer estate in the Scottish Highlands, aged 96.
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“You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our back that guided us through this world,” the sisters, daughters of Prince Andrew, said. “You have taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever. For now, dear grandma, all we want to say is thank you.”
Hundreds of thousands of people lined up for long hours in a queue stretching along the Thames, waiting to file past the coffin and honor the Queen – a testament to the affection in which she was detained.
Other cousins at the vigil on Saturday were Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, children of Princess Anne, and Louise and James, children of Prince Edward.
Earlier on Saturday, Charles and his heir William shook hands and waved to well-wishers in the queue, asking people how long they had been there and if they were warm enough.
To cheers of ‘hip, hip, hooray’ and cries of ‘God save the King’, Charles and William spoke to mourners near Lambeth Bridge, as they neared the end of the massive line to see the lie in history. Westminster Hall.
On Friday evening, Charles joined his three siblings – Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward – in a silent vigil at the coffin.
“She wouldn’t believe any of this, really wouldn’t,” William was heard telling a man of the late Queen, who came to the throne in 1952. “It’s unbelievable.”
One woman told Charles it was “worth the wait” and others wished him well and cheered as he moved through the queue.
Ahead of the state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday, world leaders are also starting to arrive in the British capital.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese were among the dignitaries to pay their respects on Saturday while New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was seen curtsying at the coffin on Friday.
US President Joe Biden was due to go to the infirmary on Sunday.
On Saturday, Charles met the leaders of the 14 countries where he is head of state, such as Canada, Australia and Jamaica, after meeting governors general – the people who represent the monarch in overseas kingdoms. sea – at Buckingham Palace.
London police described the funeral as the biggest security operation they have ever undertaken as prime ministers, presidents and royals gathered and huge crowds filled the streets. The King visited police headquarters on Saturday to thank emergency service workers involved in the planning.
Underlining the risks, police say a man was detained and arrested after a witness told Sky News he ‘ran to the Queen’s coffin’. Footage showed a man pinned to the ground by officers and led away.
As of 5:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. GMT), the UK Culture Department said the waiting time to reach the resting place was 11 hours.
Inside the silent room, some mourners wept, many were in tears as current soldiers and veterans saluted their former commander-in-chief. Others in the line fell to their knees.
New friendships, acts of kindness and the struggles of waiting in line for hours, sometimes in the cold at night, have come to define what is simply known as “the queue”.
Filmmaker Matthew West described how a serviceman was offered the chance to go to the front lines but declined. “That was the high point. The low point was when we stood still for two hours and I lost the will to live.”
There has been an outpouring of emotion across the country and 10 days of choreographed events since the Queen’s death at Balmoral in Scotland. His coffin was first buried in Edinburgh before being flown to London.
The Queen’s children described being devastated by the reaction to their mother’s death.
The state funeral, which will be attended by nearly 100 presidents and heads of government, is likely to be one of the biggest ceremonies ever held in Britain.
Soldiers took part in morning rehearsals at Windsor, where the Queen’s coffin will be taken after the funeral at Westminster Abbey. Marching bands playing music and the Grenadier Guards, who wear large bearskin hats on ceremonial occasions, were seen marching down the high street in preparation.
Liz Kelshall from Leatherhead in southern England said she brought her two children to Windsor so they would never forget the Queen. “It’s really important for them to grow and remember that and it’s important for us as a family to come and show respect for an amazing woman,” she said.
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Additional reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Elizabeth Piper Editing by Rosalba O’Brien, Alison Williams and Frances Kerry
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