Charles and siblings mount vigil in honour of Queen

The Queen Consort and many members of the royal family watched the vigil.

Tony Jones
Friday 16 September 2022 20:36 BST
King Charles III arrives to stand vigil beside the coffin of his mother (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
King Charles III arrives to stand vigil beside the coffin of his mother (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Queen’s children mounted a vigil around her coffin, after the Earl of Wessex said her death had left “an unimaginable void in all our lives” and his family was “united in grief”.

Silent, motionless and with their heads bowed, the King and his siblings – the Princess Royal, Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – paid tribute to their mother.

In military uniforms and with their hands clasped in front, the grieving siblings stood for just over 10 minutes as people continued to file past the coffin of the Queen, lying in state at Westminster Hall.

King Charles III, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex hold a vigil beside the coffin of their mother (Yui Mok/PA)

Edward, the youngest of the Queen’s four children, said in his tribute that in death, as in life, they were sharing their “beloved mama” with others.

The Earl, who during the day met well-wishers outside Windsor Castle with his wife, added: “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 void in all our lives.”

Members of the royal family watch as the Queen’s children keep vigil (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Watching the vigil were members of the royal family including the Queen Consort, Countess of Wessex, four of the Queen’s grandchildren and their spouses – Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips – and members of the wider royal family.

The number of people wanting to view the Queen’s coffin and say their goodbyes has pushed the waiting time past 24 hours.

Former England footballer David Beckham waited  13 hours to pay his respects, after joining the queue just after 2am, and he appeared to wipe away a tear before nodding his head towards the Queen’s coffin

Before entering the hall he said: “There should always be respect paid to our Queen in the country in this time of mourning.

“But speaking as an ex-football player and an ex-England captain I know what it meant for us to step out on that field to represent our Queen and our country and the Three Lions.”

David Beckham outside Westminster Hall (Elena Giuliano/PA)

Earlier the Prince of Wales told a serviceman his grandmother would be “looking down” on her funeral service and be interested in all the detail.

William and his wife Kate, the Princess of Wales, visited Army Training Centre Pirbright in Surrey on Friday, where they spoke to Commonwealth troops taking part in the funeral procession on Monday.

The prince was heard speaking to troops from the New Zealand Defence Force about how the Queen would be keeping an eye on Monday’s proceedings.

Greg Gifford, 31, told the PA news agency: “One of the key things I took away from what he said was how the Queen will definitely be looking down on the whole funeral service.

The Princess of Wales talking to members of the Canadian military who will take part in the Queen’s funeral (Jonathan Buckmaster/Daily Express/PA)

“He said she would be interested in the detail of the soldiers, how the drill is carried out, its precision, our dress, things like that.”

Charles began his day by visiting Cardiff, the final stop on his tour of the four home nations, and he paid tribute to the Queen’s commitment to Wales during his first visit to the nation as King.

He told the Welsh Parliament she felt pride at “your many great achievements” and also “felt you deeply in great times of sorrow” and how Wales “could not be closer to my mother’s heart”.

His address was in response to a Motion of Condolence in the Senedd, which came after the Queen was described, during a memorial service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff earlier in the day, as a “towering figure on the world stage”.

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