A bow was paid to Elizabeth II in London last weekend
The last weekend to meditate in front of Elizabeth II’s coffin: The queue promises to be very long again on Saturday to reach Westminster Hall in London, where the sovereign rests until her funeral, which will be attended by hundreds of world leaders and royalty on Monday will participate.
The death of Elizabeth II, well-loved after more than 70 years in power, caused great emotion in the UK. The queue to see his coffin stretched for miles along the River Thames on Friday night and the wait was estimated by the Government at more than 10pm ahead of a cold night.
Around 750,000 people could queue to see the Queen’s coffin, London transport officials say. The public has until 06:30 (05:30 GMT) Monday morning to pay their last respects to the sovereign.
Big moment on Friday night, “the prince’s vigil”: Elizabeth II’s four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – came to guard their mother’s coffin, as they had already done in Edinburgh.
All four in military uniform, with their backs to the coffin, they sat head down for fifteen minutes as the audience continued to march through Westminster Hall.
For the occasion, Andrew, stripped of most of his military titles following a sex scandal, was allowed to wear the uniform.
The Queen’s eight grandchildren also have to be picked up on Saturday night.
On Friday it was former football star David Beckham, visibly moved, who slipped into the crowd to bow before the coffin of the monarch who died on September 8 at his Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
“We are all here to thank Her Majesty for being so kind, caring and comforting all these years,” he said on leaving.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also walked into Westminster Hall, dressed all in black, in front of the coffin draped with the royal standard and adorned with the imperial crown.
Representatives of the 14 kingdoms of the Commonwealth are also to gather there on Saturday.
– Bigger than the Olympics –
A procession will accompany the coffin to Westminster Abbey on Monday morning, where the funeral will take place at 10:00 GMT. It is the first state funeral since that of Winston Churchill in 1965.
Around 2,000 guests, including several hundred leaders from all over the world, crowned heads, but also anonymous people who have been recognized for their social commitment, will take part in the ceremony.
US President Joe Biden, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Emperor of Japan and French President Emmanuel Macron are expected.
It will be the largest event ever monitored by London Police, she said. Even bigger than the Olympic Games held in London in 2012.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss, who has been in power for the past ten days, is due to meet several leaders before the funeral, including Joe Biden, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. She will also meet with her Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese, and with Jacinda Ardern.
Charles III, who became king at the age of 73, receives heads of state at Buckingham Palace on Sunday afternoon.
The King ended his tour of the four nations of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) in Wales on Friday.
Following a final procession, Elizabeth II will be buried privately alongside her father King George VI and her husband Prince Philip on Monday at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in west London.
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