The grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth II gathered this Saturday at the end of the day around the coffin of their grandmother, whose funeral is scheduled for Monday.
Princes William and Harry and the six other grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth II participated in a funeral wake this Saturday evening around their grandmother’s coffin, two days before the monarch’s funeral.
Often described as enemy brothers, the two sons of Charles III were in uniform – Harry no longer wore it since his resounding withdrawal from the monarchy – unlike their six cousins. They gathered at 6:00 p.m. in Westminster Hall, their backs to the coffin and their heads bowed, under the gaze of visitors who came to bow before the remains of Elizabeth II, on display to the public until Monday morning.
Back to the coffin, head bowed, visibly moved, they gathered for ten minutes in Westminster Hall, under the gaze of visitors. They continued to parade without interruption, after long hours of queuing, to say goodbye to the popular sovereign, who died on September 8 at the age of 96 in her Scottish residence of Balmoral.
Scrambled since 2020, the two children of King Charles III and the late Princess Diana had already created a surprise by appearing together with their wives Kate and Meghan, two days after the Queen’s death, during a walkabout in front of the Windsor Castle. We saw them again, a few meters apart, on Wednesday during the very official procession behind the remains of the queen between Buckingham Palace and Westminster.
Prince William, heir to the Crown and who now bears the title of Prince of Wales, has been at odds with his younger brother since Harry announced in March 2020 to distance himself from the royal family, causing an earthquake in the United Kingdom .
“I love you William!” : the eldest of the two brothers enjoys strong popularity, as he was able to verify again on Saturday noon, during a surprise walkabout with his father, Charles III, to meet the British queuing for his bow before the coffin.
Last chance to see the queen
The hours are now counted to gather in front of the remains – in her closed coffin surmounted by the sumptuous imperial crown – of the sovereign, very popular until her death, after more than 70 years of reign. Two days before the ‘funeral of the century’, for which foreign dignitaries have started to flock, the waiting time in line along the Thames to Westminster Hall in London to view the coffin exceeded 11 hours this Saturday evening and the authorities alerted the public to the cooling expected overnight.
The public has until Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. to pay their last respects to the sovereign, final farewells in meditation, sometimes tears, for a sovereign who has become a symbol of unity and stability during her reign, of a record length in UK history. “It was so moving, with a really nice, peaceful and calm atmosphere. The queue was long, but it felt like a celebration,” says Jenna O’Sullivan, 36, after waiting 14 hours to finally see the coffin.
Rare incident in the continuous tributes: a man was arrested Friday night after leaving the line and approaching the coffin, authorities said.
Diplomatic ballet for Charles
London is preparing feverishly for its first state funeral since that of Winston Churchill in 1965. For the police, the event promises to be even more imposing than the Olympic Games which took place in London in 2012. The protocol has been seen and reviewed for many years and the troops of his majesty tirelessly repeat in the streets the course and the gestures for the event.
Before the funeral at Westminster Abbey, Charles III received representatives from the 14 other Commonwealth realms of which he is Head of State. Some leaders of the organization, to which Elizabeth II was very attached, but which is shaken by the Republican temptations of certain members, in the Caribbean in particular, had the opportunity to meditate in front of the coffin, including Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau (Canada), Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand) and Anthony Albanese (Australia).
Distinguished guests were beginning to flock to London, starting with US President Joe Biden, who was to land in the capital that evening. He will attend a reception hosted by Charles III on Sunday evening for invited heads of state.
On Monday morning, a procession will accompany the Queen’s coffin to Westminster Abbey where the funeral will be held, at 11 a.m. local time. Some 2,000 guests, including several hundred leaders from around the world, crowned heads, but also anonymous people decorated for their associative commitment, will attend the ceremony. Elizabeth II will be buried privately in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, west London, with her father King George VI and her husband Prince Philip.