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Queen Elizabeth's grandchildren mount vigil around coffin

Prince William also shook hands with those in the lengthy line.

Queen Elizabeth's grandchildren hold a vigil at the coffin of their grandmother.
Queen Elizabeth's grandchildren hold a vigil at the coffin of their grandmother.
Image: PA

Updated Sep 17th 2022, 7:53 PM

QUEEN ELIZABETH II’S eight grandchildren have mounted a vigil around her coffin during the lying-in-state at London’s historic Westminster Hall.

William and his estranged brother Prince Harry led the 15-minute vigil inside parliament’s Westminster Hall, which has hosted tens of thousands of mourners since the late queen began lying in state there on Wednesday.

The grandchildren, aged from 44 to 14, stood silently with their eyes lowered as members of the public filed past.

Harry – who served two tours with the British Army in Afghanistan – wore his military uniform, despite no longer being a working royal, after being given special permission by his father.

The move appeared to be the latest olive branch offered by King Charles towards his youngest son after Harry and his wife Meghan, now living in California, accused the royal family of racism.

Unscheduled walkabout
Charles and William greeted mourners in an unscheduled walkabout of the queue in London earlier this afternoon, as mourners were warned of a 16-hour wait time.

William thanked people for waiting in line for many hours for the late monarch lying in state, as he shook hands with mourners.

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Charles left before William, both of them in cars surrounded by police vehicles.

Those waiting in the queue, which now has its own BBC weather forecast, faced temperatures of 7C this morning, at which time the official queue tracker advised the public not to make the journey as they could be queueing for up to 24 hours.

 

Later on Saturday morning the tracker had stopped telling mourners not to travel, and the wait had dropped to 16 hours.

Bright pink wristbands, which state they do not guarantee entry to Westminster Hall, continue to be handed out.

Those waiting described the experience as well organised, with friendly staff and officers on hand to assist. Volunteers handed out blue blankets to guard against the night-time chill.

Some 435 people in the queue have needed medical treatment, often for head injuries after fainting, the London Ambulance Service said.

queen-elizabeth-ii-death Source: PA

Police are mounting Britain’s biggest-ever security operation for Monday’s funeral, with hundreds of dignitaries including US President Joe Biden set to jet in and mourners already setting up camp in front of Westminster Hall and Buckingham Palace for the final goodbye.

Taoiseach, president to attend royal reception

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and president Michael D Higgins will attend a reception at Buckingham Palace and an event hosted by the UK’s new Foreign Secretary around the Queen’s state funeral.

The historic funeral will be one of the rare occasions where both leaders are out of the country at the same time.

President Higgins and his wife Sabina, along with Martin and his wife Mary, will be among the hundreds of foreign dignitaries attending the funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday morning.

With most countries invited to send their head of state or head of government, along with their spouses, it is believed that Ireland’s four-person delegation is unusual.

The Taoiseach will also be one of several world leaders that will meet Liz Truss ahead of the state funeral.

Less than two weeks since she was appointed by the late queen, Truss was today beginning a packed series of meetings with world leaders including New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern and Australia’s pro-republic PM Anthony Albanese.

queen-elizabeth-ii-death Source: PA

Ardern, Albanese and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were among leaders who paid their own respects at Westminster Hall.

With reporting from AFP

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