Elizabeth II: wake for her children, long wait to collect
Elizabeth II’s four children, including King Charles III, stood guard over their coffin in London on Friday night surrounded by crowds of anonymous people who endured a very long wait to greet their beloved Queen ahead of her funeral.
Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, seated around him with their backs down, gazed for ten minutes over the coffin, draped with the royal standard and adorned with the imperial crown, and perched on an imposing catafalque in the oldest room of the British Parliament stood. Westminster Hall.
They had already done the same thing in Edinburgh on Monday, where the sovereign’s remains had arrived at her Balmoral domain in Scotland, following her death on September 8.
To mark the occasion, Andrew, stripped of his military titles following a sex scandal, was allowed to wear the uniform like his siblings.
During this solemn “Princes’ Vigil”, a tradition dating back to the death of King George V in 1936, the crowd could continue to parade in front of the coffin, as they have done in a continuous stream since Wednesday afternoon.
A testament to the immense emotions stirred up by the death of Queen Elizabeth, who was celebrated unanimously for her dedication to the crown, the endless line for collections continued to lengthen on Friday, at one point exceeding the 24-hour wait.
“My ankles hurt terribly but it’s a small sacrifice I have to make,” 70-year-old Peter Stratford told AFP, resting briefly after waiting eight hours.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it,” added this former firefighter, who intervened in a major fire at Windsor Castle in 1992, where Elizabeth II will be buried on Monday.
As on the previous day, on Friday evening the authorities again temporarily blocked access to the long line that stretches for kilometers in the capital. It will reopen on Saturday afternoon.
Like thousands of other people, former soccer star David Beckham had been waiting patiently since 2am for more than 12 hours, dressed in dark clothing. He bowed his head soberly in front of the remains and wiped away a tear.
“It’s very moving, and the stillness and atmosphere of the room is very difficult to explain, but we’re all here to thank Her Majesty for being so kind, caring and comforting all these years,” he said when he left, stormed by journalists.
“She was our queen and the legacy she leaves behind is incredible,” he added.
The princes’ wake concluded for the sovereign with an emotional day of applause in Cardiff on the final leg of his journey through the four states of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales).
“Long live the king!” (“Long live the king!”): The 73-year-old ex-Prince of Wales enjoyed a tour for around twenty minutes, shaking many hands.
He walked with Queen Consort Camilla to the sound of the hymn “God Save the King” being 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 “leading example” of his Mother.
“It was very moving to see someone so special to the country,” 14-year-old Ffion Driscoll told AFP, crying with his mother.
But while the king was hailed by the conquered Welsh, a handful of anti-monarchists with placards reading “Abolish the Monarchy” or “Democracy Now” gathered outside the castle.
A petition protesting the conferring of the title of Prince of Wales – for some a symbol of English oppression – to the new heir to the throne, William, rather than a Welshman, has garnered nearly 30,000 signatures.
Back in London, Charles III, head of the Anglican Church, had received the country’s religious leaders at Buckingham Palace, who pledged to defend all faiths.
– 2,000 guests –
The public can parade before the coffin of Elizabeth II before the 10:00 GMT state funeral, the first of its kind since that of Winston Churchill in 1965, until Monday morning.
A procession will then accompany the coffin to Westminster Abbey, where the burial will take place.
Millions of people are expected to watch the event in front of their TVs on this bank holiday in the UK.
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.
Joe Biden, Ursula von der Leyen, the Emperor of Japan or even Emmanuel Macron are expected, while the Pope will be represented. The leaders of Russia, Afghanistan, Burma, Syria and North Korea were not invited.
The event poses an unprecedented security challenge for the UK, which has deployed an impressive system in the capital, with numerous reinforcements from across the country.
“It will be the biggest event that London police have had to handle,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said on Friday, even bigger than the 2012 Olympics.
A few hours earlier, the attack on two police officers who had been stabbed to death in central London, in what authorities do not consider an act of terrorism, had escalated the tension by a notch.
– independence –
Many challenges await Charles III, often described as a transitional king before his son, the popular William, but also as a modernizer striving to narrow the wings of the monarchy.
Between Scotland’s quest for independence, tensions in Northern Ireland, the country’s economic and social crisis, but also the republican temptations emerging in some of its 14 other kingdoms, he will have plenty to do to embody national unity.
For example, Zahra Ameri, 22, who works in a tea shop a few yards from the entrance to Cardiff Castle, says she’s tired of all the excitement surrounding the king.
“I hope Wales becomes independent,” she told AFP. “(The king) is just a person, (he’s) not really important to me”.
The first steps of Charles III. were considered quite dignified, apart from a few public gestures of anger, which drew a lot of comment on the internet, with many waiting to see how he will don his immensely respected mother’s costume and how he will handle crises.
It is always my pleasure to provide insightful information on important topics and if you have learned something from my article then I thank you for taking the time to share it with your friends or family.
We put a lot of heart and invest a lot of time trying to bring you the most interesting articles.
You would encourage us to do it even better in the future. Thank you!