LONDON (AP / CBS) – All eight ofgrandchildren stood in silent vigil at her coffin on Saturday, ending another great day in which thousands arrived . Many huddled in a line of waiting that lasted up to 16 hours, surviving London’s coldest night in months.
A wave of people wanting to say goodbye poured into Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where, wrapped in her Royal Banner and crowned with a crown set with diamonds. The since the public first entered Wednesday, with the funicular that winds around Southwark Park and stretches for at least 5 miles.
Respecting their patience,and his eldest son, Prince William, made an unannounced visit on Saturday to greet the people waiting to walk past the queen’s coffin, shaking hands and thanking the mourners in the line near Lambeth Bridge.
All of them latershe was standing by her coffin. The sons of Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry, were joined by the children of Princess Anne, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; the daughters of Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenia; and Prince Edward’s two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
William, now heir to the throne, stood with his head bowed at the top of the coffin, and Harry at his feet. Both princes, who were military veterans, wore uniforms.
The mourners continued in silence while the grandchildren stood on the watch.
Harry, who served in Afghanistan as an officer in the British Army, wore civilian clothes during the procession with the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace because he is no longer a working member of the royal family. He and his wife Meghan have relinquished their royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020. The king, however, demanded that both William and Harry wear military uniforms during the Westminster Hall vigil.
Before the vigil, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie issued a statement praising their “beloved grandmother.”
“We, like many, thought you would be here forever. And we all miss you terribly. You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through this world. You taught us and we will love these lessons and memories. forever, “wrote the sisters.
The people in line for the Queen were of all ages and walks of life. Many bowed before the coffin or made the sign of the cross. Several veterans, whose medals shone in the spotlight, gave salutes. Some cried. Others sent kisses. Many hugged each other as they walked away, proud that they had spent hours in line to pay tribute, even if it was only for a few moments.
During the night, volunteers were handing out blankets and cups of tea to the people in line as the temperature dropped to 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the weather, the mourners described the warmth of the shared experience.
“It was cold at night, but we had great companions, we made new friends. The friend was wonderful, ”said Chris Harman from London. “It was worth it. I’d do it again and again. I will go to the end of the world for my queen.”
People had many reasons to come, from attachment to the Queen to a willingness to share in a historic moment. Simon Hopkins, who traveled from his home in the middle of England, compared it to a “pilgrimage”.
“(This) is a bit weird because it goes against my beliefs,” he said. “I kind of got involved in this.”
The audience silently poured into Westminster Hall, even as the Queen’s four children –, Princess Anna, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – on Friday evening kept watch around the coffin with the flag for 15 minutes. The baby’s crying was the only sound.
Before the vigil, Edward said the royal family was “overwhelmed by the wave of emotion that engulfed us and the sheer number of people who went out of their way to express their love, admiration and respect (for) our dear mother. “
Authorities on Saturday closed a separate line for people with disabilities, saying all available seats had been allocated.
Metropolitan Policefor suspected violation of public order. The parliamentary authorities informed that someone had left the line and tried to approach the coffin.
Tracey Holland told Sky News that her seven-year-old niece Darcy Holland was pushed out of the way by a man who tried to “run to the coffin, raise the standard and try to do no matter what.” She said the police detained the man in “two seconds.”
Lying down in the state continues until early Monday morning, when the queen’s coffin is transported to nearby Westminster Abbey on, the finale of the 10-day national mourning after the longest-ruling British monarchy. Elżbieta, 96 years old, after 70 years on the throne.
On Sunday, one of the hundreds of heads of state, aristocrats and political leaders from all over the world travels to London for the funeral. Charles held audiences on Saturday for incoming prime ministers, kingdom governors generals, and military commanders.
After the abbey service on Monday, the coffin of the deceased queen will be transported through the historic heart of London in a horse-drawn carriage. He will then be transported by hearse to Windsor, where the Queen will be buried with her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.
Hundreds of soldiers from the British Army, Air Force and Navy made the early morning rehearsal for the final procession. As troops lined up the scenic path leading to Windsor Castle, the thudding of drums echoed as marching bands made their way in front of the hearse.
London police say the funeral will be the largest single police incident ever faced by the police, surpassing even the 2012 Summer Olympics andcelebrates the Queen’s 70th year reign.
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