Charles III in Wales, before the “vigil of the princes”

Charles III in Wales, before the "vigil of the princes"
Charles III in Cardiff, September 16, 2022.

Three days from the fnational funeral of his mother Elizabeth IIwhere hundreds of leaders from around the world are expected, King Charles III visited Wales on Friday, September 16, the last stage of his tour as the new king of the United Kingdom.

Nearly a week after being proclaimed king, Charles III continues his long series of official engagements, and completes in Cardiff a tour of the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) , where he attended a church service with Queen Consort Camilla, ahead of a scheduled reception with local political representatives.

Coincidentally, September 16 is also the day Wales celebrates the rebellious Prince Owain Glyndwr, the last Prince of Wales who was actually Welsh, who in 1400 rose up against the King of England. The new king, who was himself Prince of Wales from the age of 9 to last week, does not arrive on conquered ground.

A petition protesting the passing of the title – for some a symbol of English oppression – to the new heir to the throne, William, rather than a Welshman has garnered more than 27,000 signatures. An anti-monarchy demonstration is planned outside Cardiff Castle. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told the BBC that “this is not the week for this debate to resurface”even if people “have the right to protest”.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Northern Ireland, where Charles III visited, the British monarchy remains a point of contention

Access to the queue to see the coffin hung six hours

Queuing along Southpark to pay homage to Queen Elizabeth II's coffin on September 16, 2022.

In London, thousands of people, some from very far away, lined up to gather at the queen’s coffin. His public display, around the clock from Wednesday evening at the Palace of Westminster, is scheduled until 6:30 a.m. local time (7:30 a.m. in Paris) on Monday, before the funeral at Westminster Abbey. at 11 a.m. (noon in Paris).

The tension around the security and diplomatic challenge represented by the ceremony scheduled for Monday morning in Westminster rose a notch in the morning, after two police officers were stabbed in central London – an attack which is not treated as a terrorist act by the authorities.

Faced with huge crowds, access to the queue to see the coffin of the monarch in Westminster was suspended Friday morning during “at least for six hours”, the government announced. The waiting time had risen to fourteen hours. “The slots for the afternoon have been filledhe said, adding: Do not attempt to join the queue before it reopens. »

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“Princes’ Vigil”

The Prince and Princess of Wales pay their respects to flowers left by the public in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, at the gates of Sandringham House, Norfolk, September 15, 2022.

After marching in line, behind the coffin of Elizabeth II, through central London on Wednesday, his four children will meet again on Friday evening. The king will have received the country’s religious leaders at Buckingham. Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward will observe a “vigil of princes” around their mother’s coffin. For the occasion, Andrew, though deprived of military titles, was authorized to wear the uniform. The king is said to have requested that his eight grandchildren also participate.

Monday morning, the queen’s coffin, accompanied by the royal family but also by caregivers from the public health system, will be taken to Westminster Abbey forr state funeralthe first since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965, in front of 2,000 guests, foreign heads of state, world elite, anonymous people decorated for their associative commitment.

On the other hand, a delegation of Chinese officials was prevented from coming to pray in front of the coffin in Westminster, according to parliamentary sources. A decision which comes after the sanctions imposed by Beijing against British parliamentarians who criticized the human rights situation in the country.

After a final procession, Elizabeth II will be buried Monday in St. George’s Chapel at her beloved Windsor Castle, next to her father, George VI, and her husband, Philip. The United Kingdom will stop for this holiday, before rediscovering, after a parenthesis of collective sadness, the reality of the serious economic and social crisis which is hitting it.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The social and trade union awakening of the United Kingdom

The World with AFP

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