Queen’s funeral: King Charles III, siblings hold vigil
• William and Harry, Other Grandchildren Hold Historic Vigil
• King Hosts Biden, Macron, Osinbajo, Japanese Emperor and Others at Buckingham Palace
• 4,000 Armed Forces To Take Part In Funeral Rites
Ahead of tomorrow’s state funeral for the late 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles will today hold a reception at Buckingham palace for the U.S President, Joe Biden, President Emmanuel Macron of France and other world leaders, who have arrived in London. Those expected at the palace reception include the Japanese emperor, Naruhito and Empress Masako.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo departed Abuja yesterday to represent Nigeria at a number of events scheduled for today and tomorrow, during the State funeral for the late Queen.
Prof Osinbajo will join members of the Royal Family, and world leaders – including members of the Commonwealth, Heads of State, Governors-General, Prime Ministers, and foreign royal families – at the ceremonies, including the funeral service scheduled to hold at Westminster Abbey.
Ahead of the service, the Vice President will be among guests and dignitaries to be received by King Charles lll and Queen Consort Camilla, at a reception in Buckingham Palace, today.
Yesterday night, Prince William, Prince Harry and the six other grandchildren of the late monarch had their vigil to pay their respects. Like his uncle, Prince Andrew, who was specially permitted by the King to wear the ceremonial uniform during Friday’s vigil, Harry too was granted special permission by his father and wore the ceremonial uniform during the grandchildren’s historic vigil from 6 pm.
King Charles III, Princess Royal, Anne, and the late Queen Elizabeth II’s two other children, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex held a vigil for their late mother at the venue of her ongoing lying-in-state in Westminster Hall on Friday night.
Dressed in full ceremonial uniform, all four marched into the hall and stood guard to pay their respects to her for about 15 minutes from around 7.45 pm.
Prompted by the duty officer, who struck the floor thrice to announce their arrival to other mourners, including other senior members of the royal family, the King led his siblings in paying respects to their late mother just as they did at the St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh a few days ago.
Meanwhile, mourners lining up to pay their last respects to the late Queen are having to endure more than 10 hours of waiting to have their turns inside the hall. Among them was former England captain and Manchester United legend, David Beckham.
At a particular time on Friday, members of the public were advised not to come as the queue had reached its capacity. As of around 5.30 pm on yesterday, the waiting time to get the opportunity to enter the hall and file past the catafalque – raised platform holding her coffin – to pay last respects averaged more than 12 hours.
As a show of appreciation, King Charles and Prince William embarked on a “meet and greet” session with the crowd outside of Buckingham Palace, thanking the public for the affection shown to their family. The late Queen’s youngest son, Edward, the Earl of Wessex and his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, followed suit by mingling with the crowd and thanking them for their love.
“Thank you very much. Thank you for your support,” the Earl said, as he interacted with the crowd outside the palace.
As part of preparations for the state funeral, rehearsals are continuing to take place both in London and at Windsor Castle. About 4,000 members of the armed forces, including more than a thousand from the Navy, are expected to be involved at the funeral on Monday.
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