King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward stayed for ten minutes in military uniform, their heads bowed, their backs to the coffin draped in the royal standard and adorned with the imperial crown.
The four children of Elizabeth II, including King Charles III, watched over her coffin in London this Friday evening, surrounded by many anonymous people who braved a very long wait to greet their beloved queen before her funeral.
Placed around it, turning their backs head down, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward watched for ten minutes over the coffin draped with the royal standard and adorned with the imperial crown, placed on an imposing catafalque in the oldest room of the British Parliament, Westminster Hall.
They had already done the same on Monday in Edinburgh, where the remains of the sovereign had arrived after her death in her domain of Balmoral, in Scotland, on September 8. For the occasion, Andrew, deprived of military titles following a sex scandal, was authorized to wear the uniform, like his siblings.
More than 24 hours of waiting
During this solemn “vigil of the princes”, a tradition dating back to the death of King George V in 1936, the crowd was able to continue to parade in front of the coffin, as it has done in a continuous flow since this Wednesday afternoon.
Proof of the immense emotion aroused by the death of Queen Elizabeth, unanimously hailed for her devotion to the Crown, the endless line to collect has continued to lengthen this Friday, exceeding at one point more than 24 hours waiting.
Like thousands of people, former football star David Beckham had waited patiently for more than 12 hours since 2 a.m., dressed in dark clothes. In front of the remains, he soberly bowed his head and wiped away a tear.
Mixed reception of King Charles III in Wales
The funeral vigil of the princes came to close for the sovereign a day rich in emotion, during which he was applauded in Cardiff during the last leg of his tour of the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland North and Wales).
“Long Live the King!” (“Long live the king!”): For about twenty minutes, the 73-year-old former Prince of Wales enjoyed a walkabout, shaking many hands.
He left with Queen Consort Camilla to the sound of the hymn ‘God Save the King’ sung by the public, after attending a church service and renewing his promise, in a speech delivered partly in Welsh to Parliament, to follow the “example” of his mother.
But while the king was cheered on by conquered Welsh, a handful of anti-monarchists carrying placards “abolish the monarchy” or “Democracy now”, were gathered outside the castle. A petition protesting against the transmission of the title of Prince of Wales – for some a symbol of English oppression – to the new heir to the throne William rather than to a Welshman has collected nearly 30,000 signatures.
Back in London, Charles III, head of the Anglican Church, had received religious leaders from the country at Buckingham Palace, pledging to defend all faiths.