King Charles and his siblings Anne, Andrew and Edward tonight mounted their touching final vigil for the Queen, before the late-monarch is laid to rest on Monday.
As tearful mourners watched on, the Queen’s four children stood guard of their mother’s coffin for more than 10 minutes at Westminster Hall this evening.
It was their second, and final, vigil for the beloved-monarch. Known as the ‘Vigil of the Children’ – an honour dating back to the time of George V – it mirrors a previous event held earlier this week at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
However unlike the previous vigil, in which Charles donned a kilt and Andrew a morning suit, all four siblings were tonight dressed in military colours.
The Duke of York, who was stripped of his armed forces patronages earlier this year amid a sexual abuse lawsuit in the US, allegations which he denied, had previously been banned from wearing military colours at public events.
But the 62-year-old royal outcast was today given special dispensation to wear uniform at the vigil, as a ‘final mark of respect’ for his mother.
He wore the full military dress uniform of a Vice Admiral of the Navy, a title which he earned from his years serving in the Navy – including in the Falklands War.
Members of the royal family including James, Viscount Severn, Lady Louise Windsor, the Countess of Wessex, Jack Brooksbank, the Queen Consort, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Zara Tindall, Mike Tindall, the Duke of Kent, Mia and Lena Tindall, the Duchess of Gloucester, and the Earl and Countess of St Andrews all attend tonight’s vigil.
Tomorrow, the Queen’s eight grandchildren will perform a similar vigil at Westminster Hall. Prince Harry, who has also been banned from wearing military uniform as part of his ‘Megxit’ deal after stepping back from frontline royal duties in 2020, will also be given special dispensation to wear his army colours at the event.
Harry will join his brother, Prince William, along with Zara Tindal, Peter Philips, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and James Viscount Severn at the event on Saturday night.
It comes as the organisers today warned that wait times to see the Queen as she lies in state at Westminster Hall had stretched to as long as 24-hours.
At one point, the queue grew so long there were two queues just to join the actual queue. However estimates at the back of the queue, which tonight backs up to Southwark Park, suggests the wait time is currently in the region of 14 hours.
King Charles and his siblings Anne, Andrew and Edward have mounted their touching final vigil for the Queen , before the late monarch is laid to rest on Monday
King Charles, Britain’s Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward attend a vigil, following the death of the Queen
Mourners watch-on as King Charles and his three siblings perform the Vigil of the Children beside the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall on Friday
As tearful mourners watched on, the Queen’s four children stood guard of their mother’s coffin for more than 10 minutes at Westminster Hall this evening
King Charles and his three siblings all wore full military uniform and their medals during the short vigil at Westminster Hall on Friday night
Unlike the previous vigil, in which Charles donned a kilt and Andrew a morning suit, all four siblings are today dressed in military colours
King Charles III and the Princess Royal arrive to hold a vigil beside the coffin of their mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as it lies in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall
Prince Andrew (pictured at the back) wore the full military dress uniform of a Vice Admiral of the Navy – which he earned from his years serving in the Navy including in the Falklands War
Members of the royal family including James, Viscount Severn, Lady Louise Windsor, the Countess of Wessex, Jack Brooksbank, the Queen Consort, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Zara Tindall, Mike Tindall, the Duke of Kent, Mia and Lena Tindall, the Duchess of Gloucester, and the Earl and Countess of St Andrews attend the vigil
Princess Eugenie, center, Princess Beatrice, and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi attend a vigil beside the coffin of the Queen
Mourners were left emotional as they left Westminster Hall this evening following the Vigil of the Children on Friday evening
King Charles walks out of Westminster Hall, followed by his siblings Anne, Edward and Andrew, after mounting the Vigil of the Children
A view from above as King Charles leaves Westminster Hall and its famous wood-beam arches after mounting the Vigil of the Children with his siblings Anne, Andrew and Edward
It was their second, and final, Vigil of the Children and mirrors a previous event held earlier this week in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. Pictured: King Charles III and other members of the royal family hold a vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Britain’s King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla arrive to Westminster Hall ahead of the Vigil of the Children on Friday night
Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, arrives to Westminster Hall, for the Vigil of the Children, along with siblings Charles, Andrew and Edward
Members of the public in the queue at 06:09 on The Queen’s Walk by Tower Bridge in London, as they wait to view the Queen lying in state
It comes as the organisers today warned that wait times to see the Queen as she lies in state at Westminster Hall had stretched to as long as 24-hours. At one point, the queue grew so long there were two queues just to join the actual queue.
Among the crowds today was David Beckham, who wiped a tear from his eye as he approached the Queen’s coffin following a 13-hour wait on Friday, after admitting to television cameras: ‘I thought it’d be quieter coming at 2am… I was wrong!’
The football legend, 47, was among thousands to join the five-mile queue and purchased a box of doughnuts to share with his fellow mourners, managing to avoid detection for hours because of the ‘mutual respect’ he shared with them.
What is the Vigil of the Children?
Originally known as the Vigil of the Princes, the guard of honour dates back from the time of King George V.
After the monarch’s death, his four children, King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II’s father – then the Duke of York, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent all stood guard over their father’s coffin.
At that time, it was done behind close door in Westminster Hall as a private act of remembrance by the four princes.
But it was revived for the Queen mother following her death in 2002, when Charles, Andrew, Edward and Viscount Linley performed the Vigil of the Princes in public.
Following the death of the Queen, Princess Anne became the first female royal to perform the vigil – which was subsequently renamed the Vigil of the Children.
She took part in an initial vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral last week, alongside siblings Charles, Edward and Andrew.
And the four siblings again mounted the vigil at Westminster Hall today.
As the former England Captain finally reached the end of the line, a changing of the guard took place while broadcast cameras hovered on him as he watched on solemnly.
Beckham, a father-of-four, was emotional as he waited his turn to pay his respects alongside the crowd of thousands, seen wiping the corner of his eye and covering his mouth with his hand as he approached the front of the procession.
The former Manchester United striker finally reached the Queen’s coffin at about 3.30pm after lining up for 13 hours, and took just a few seconds to bow his head before moving on to make way for the people behind him.
When Beckham was finally spotted in the crowd, he spoke with ITV news about what prompted his decision to wake up and join the hundreds of thousands of other mourners expected to visit the Queen as she lies in state.
He recalled the ‘special moment’ he was awarded an OBE and looked back fondly on the relationship he had fostered with the monarch over the years.
‘To receive my OBE, I took my grandparents with me, who were the ones that really brought me up to be a huge royalist and a fan of the royal family, and obviously I had my wife there as well,’ he said.
‘To step up, to get my honour, but then also Her Majesty, to ask questions, to talk, I was so lucky that I was able to have a few moments like that in my life, to be around Her Majesty.
‘Because we can all see with the love that has been shown, how special she is and how special she was and the legacy that she leaves behind… It’s a sad day, but it’s a day for us to remember the incredible legacy that she’s left.’
He added: ‘I think it’ll take a long time to understand [the Queen’s death] because I think Her Majesty meant so much in so many different ways.’
Beckham said he will forever consider himself lucky to have met the Queen on so many occasions.
‘To represent my country, to be captain of my country, every time that we stood there and we wore those Three Lions shirts and I had my armband and we sang God Save Our Queen, that was something that meant so much to us and every time that we did it, it was something special,’ he said.
David Beckham wiped a tear from his eye as he approached the Queen’s coffin following a 13-hour wait in the five-mile-long queue
Beckham left the Palace of Westminster this afternoon after queuing since 2am to see the Queen lie in state
Her Majesty and Beckham shake hands at The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards reception at Buckingham Palace on June 22 2015
‘Now we are there for her, united in grief’: Prince Edward says Queen’s death ‘has left an unimaginable hole in all our lives’ in heartfelt tribute
The Earl and Countess of Wessex have paid a heartfelt tribute to the Queen as she lies in state in Westminster Hall.
Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, and his wife Countess Sophie published a statement thanking Queen Elizabeth II for her years of service.
The royal couple said the Queen’s death last week had left an ‘unimaginable void in all our lives’.
In a statement published by Buckingham Palace, Prince Edward said: ‘As a family, we have grown up learning to share our parents, especially our beloved mama, with the Nation, her Realms and the Commonwealth.
‘While it has been lovely to have spent time saying our own farewell privately at Balmoral, it is now time to allow others to be able to say their farewell.
‘We have been overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect to such a very special and unique person who was always there for us.
‘And now, we are there for her, united in grief. Thank you for your support, you have no idea how much it means.
‘The Queen’s passing has left an unimaginable hole in all our lives. Sophie and I have taken huge pleasure in seeing our James and Louise enjoying the places and activities that their grandparents loved so much.
‘Given that my mama let us spend so much time with her, I think she also rather enjoyed watching those passions blossom.
‘Those times together, those happy memories, have now become massively precious to each and every one of us.
‘May God bless Her Majesty and may her memory be long cherished even as the baton she has carried for these past 70 years now passes to the next generation, and to my brother, Charles.
‘Long Live The King.’
Yesterday, Prince Edward and Countess Sophie greeted mourners in Manchester as thousands turned out to pay tribute to the Queen.
On Wednesday, the couple were part of the procession which brought the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.
In Manchester, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, met Josh, a young mourner who was waiting to see her with his mother, Sue.
Recounting the moment they met, Sue said: ‘She just said ”nice to meet you, do you want me to take your flowers?” Then Josh said ”can I have a hug?”. They hugged, then he asked for a photo. The bouquet is signed from Josh but it’s got my name on it as well.’
Asked what the moment felt like, Josh – who is non-verbal – replied: ‘Happy.’
Edward and Sophie paid tribute to the Queen at Westminster Hall alongside their children, Lady Louse and Viscount Severn, earlier in the week.
‘This day was always going to be difficult for the nation, it’s difficult for everyone around the world because everyone is feeling it.’
Images shared on social media show the public holding their phones in the air to snap a picture of the 47-year-old former footballer as he waited alongside them.
Some were so busy trying to capture a photo they forgot to keep moving forward, leading to gaps in the line.
While most people were excited to see him, Beckham confessed he’d been told off several times by stewards for holding up the queue to take photos with fans.
He dressed in a dapper black suit and tie with a blue soft cap on his head for the momentous occasion, but removed the cap as he made his way inside Westminster Hall.
A source close to the footballer said he entered the procession of people waiting to see the Queen lying in state at 2am this morning.
He was able to stay under the radar for the majority of the wait due to the ‘mutual respect’ everyone held for each other, which meant no photographs were taken of him.
While Beckham was alone, he told media he would pay respects to the late Queen ‘on behalf of my family and obviously to celebrate with everybody else here’.
He received widespread praise online for quietly joining the procession with other mourners to pay his respects and trying to keep a low profile.
One person Tweeted: ‘The Queue is now full of people trying to photograph David Beckham and forgetting to actually move onwards.’
‘I feel a bit sorry for him, but he’s taking it very well… It’s madness.’
The fan confessed the fanfare served as a distraction to queuing for such a long time.
Author Caitlin Moran tweeted to her near 900,000 followers: ‘For David Beckham to come alone, and queue for ten hours, when everyone would recognise him, is pretty ballsy.’
A third quipped the former England captain looked like a ‘Peaky Blinder’, adding that the UK had ‘peaked’.
Beckham wasn’t the only celebrity who turned out to pay his respects on Friday.
The Good Morning Britain anchor Susanna Reid attended the historic event on Thursday with her mother Sue, and said she had ‘experienced a moment in history’.
Detailing her experience on Twitter, the 51-year-old said: ‘Evening – along with my lovely mum and her very good friend, I have just experienced a moment in history – witnessing the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall. At once majestic and peaceful.’
Her posts also shared tips for others in the queue, saying: ‘If you are planning to queue here are our tips. We joined at 1.23pm near Butlers Wharf and entered Westminster Hall at 8.43pm – 7 hours 20 mins.
‘Wear the comfiest shoes you own. Go with someone if you can, although everyone in the queue was friendly.
‘Don’t carry too much in a bag – water is freely available and there are lots of cafes along the route. Also plenty of toilets. I put my phone on low battery mode and it lasted the entire time.
‘The first part of the queue is for wristbands. Ours were given out at Tower Bridge about an hour after we began queuing.’
Reid said everyone appeared on their best behaviour during her stint in the procession, with ‘people waiting patiently for their wristbands’ and then not having any troubles in slipping out to use the bathroom or find snacks.
Thousands have already filed past the late Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall
Staff earlier closed and locked the gates to the park to temporarily prevent more people from joining the queue
Royal fans reportedly begged staff to let them inside the park to join the queue
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were spotted on the Westminster Hall live stream paying their respects earlier today, while Good Morning Britain’s Susannah Reid also attended
The government instructed the public to stop joining the queue shortly before 10am this morning
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby were also spotted at Westminster Hall as they paid their respects to the late monarch.
The presenting duo, who have been hosting special tribute editions of ITV’s This Morning to the late Queen this week, were dressed in black as they queued for the historic occasion.
Reality TV star Sharon Osbourne was also seen among the thousands of mourners.
Some of those in the queue will witness the King, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex hold a 15-minute vigil around their mother’s coffin at around 7.30pm on Friday.