King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward attended an official vigil on Friday, September 16, standing around Her Majesty’s coffin, which is lying in state at Westminster Hall in London until her funeral on Monday, September 19.
Charles, 73, Anne, 72, Andrew, 63, and Edward, 58, all clad in uniform, each walked up the catafalque, the raised platform upon which the casket was placed, and looked at the coffin before turning around to face the crowd. They stood silent as they surrounded the casket for the 15-minute vigil. As they concluded the ceremony, the king exited first, followed by the Princess Royal and Duke of York, walking side by side. The Earl of Wessex, the youngest sibling, followed his older brothers and sister.
In the days since the death of the queen — who passed away “peacefully” on September 8 at the age of 96, per Buckingham Palace — her family members have been mourning publicly by greeting crowds of well-wishers, viewing tributes and speaking about what the monarch meant to them.
“To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you,” Charles, who assumed the throne upon his mother’s passing, stated in his inaugural address as king on September 9.
“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years,” he concluded. “May ‘flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.’”
Anne, for her part, went on to her late mother through a touching gesture. On Sunday, September 11, the Princess Royal curtsied in front of Elizabeth’s coffin as it arrived at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The late sovereign — who passed away at her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland — is being honored with a week-long procession as her coffin makes its way to her final resting place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Her Majesty’s casket has been lying in state at Westminster Hall since Wednesday, September 14, and members of the public have waited up to 13 hours in line to pay their final respects to the queen.
Elizabeth, who shared her four children with her late husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, will also be honored with a second vigil held on Saturday, September 17. That ceremony will be led by her grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry.
Though the Duke of Sussex, 38, was initially not permitted to wear his military uniform during the vigil — as he was not allowed to during the procession since he is no longer a working royal — the palace changed its mind ahead of the ceremony, according to The Mirror and royal expert Omid Scobie. Harry, who had a close relationship with the queen, lost his honorary military titles upon stepping down from his senior royal duties in 2020.
On Thursday, September 15, one day before the royal rule change, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that Harry had “come to terms with not wearing uniform on these occasions, adding, “Whilst that’s disappointing in some senses, he’s just grateful to be present and honoring the queen. At the end of the day, it’s only a uniform.”