Three measured faucets of the guard’s stick on the stone steps inside Westminster Corridor signalled the beginning of the vigil of the princes as Queen Elizabeth II’s 4 youngsters, led by the King, marched slowly down, stopping in entrance of the catafalque.
One other triple faucet, and so they stepped on to it. King Charles, red-eyed and blinking, took up his place on the head of the coffin, the Princess Royal and Earl of Wessex to every aspect of it, and the Duke of York at its foot.
Slowly, and in unison, they turned outwards. Then they stood, backs to the coffin, immobile, heads bowed.
This was her youngsters’s ultimate poignant ceremonial tribute to a mom, and their Queen, earlier than her state funeral on Monday. And, like so many different events over the previous week, a deeply personal second performed out so very publicly.
Members of the general public continued to file slowly previous on either side, their comfortable footsteps the one sound within the nice corridor because the King and his siblings mounted guard. Different members of the royal household, together with the Queen Consort and Countess of Wessex, watched from close by. After quarter-hour, and with one other triple faucet, the 4 stepped down – their responsibility achieved.
It was the second time her youngsters had paid their respects on this method, the primary being at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, the place her coffin lay at relaxation earlier than the journey again to Buckingham Palace. However on this event in Westminster Corridor, Prince Andrew was permitted to put on army uniform, his nonworking royal standing having beforehand confined him to morning costume.
On Saturday night, the Queen’s eight grandchildren will stand vigil beside her coffin, it has been confirmed. The Prince of Wales will stand on the head, and the Duke of Sussex on the foot. On the King’s request, they are going to each be in uniform with Harry, as a nonworking royal, granted permission for the solemn event. The opposite grandchildren will likely be in morning coats and darkish formal costume with decorations.
The vigil of the princes first occurred in 1936 when the 4 sons of King George V saved watch over his coffin because it lay in state. In 2002, the 4 grandsons of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mom, saved vigil at her coffin in Westminster Corridor.