Princes William and Harry lead Queen Elizabeth’s Grandchildren’s Vigil at the Palace of Westminster

Queen Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren watched in silence beside her coffin on Saturday, capping another huge day in which thousands of people came to London to pay their respects to the monarch.

Many people had crammed into the queue amid a 16-hour wait, enduring the coldest night in the British capital for months.

Later, all of the Queen’s grandchildren stood by her coffin. Prince William and Prince Harry, sons of King Charles III, were joined by Princess Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; the daughters of Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and Prince Edward’s two children – Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

William, now the heir to the throne, stood with his head bowed at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. The two princes, who are military veterans, were in uniform.

A tide of people wanting to say goodbye poured into Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where the Queen’s coffin lies in state, draped in her royal standard and topped with a diamond-set crown. The numbers have been steadily rising since the public were first admitted on Wednesday, with a queue winding its way around Southwark Park and stretching for at least five miles.

Honoring their patience, King Charles III and Prince William paid an unannounced visit on Saturday to greet those waiting to pass Elizabeth’s coffin, shaking hands and thanking mourners in the queue near from Lambeth Bridge.

Harry, who served in Afghanistan as a British Army officer, wore civilian clothes during the Queen’s coffin procession from Buckingham Palace as he is no longer an active member of the Royal Family. He and his wife Meghan left their royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020. The king, however, asked William and Harry to wear their military uniforms during the Westminster Hall vigil.

You can watch live coverage of the Queen’s funeral from 5 a.m. ET Monday on CBC TV, CBC News Network, Gem of Radio-Canada, and the CBC News app. At noon ET, the show will turn to Ottawa for a national commemorative ceremony. CBC News Network will rebroadcast the funeral at 7 p.m. ET. CBC Radio One’s live funeral coverage will begin at 5:30 a.m. ET, and will also be available on the CBC Listen app.

Trudeau pays tribute to the late monarch

On Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped to view the casket before a meeting with the king at Buckingham Palace. The king also met the prime ministers of the 14 other countries of which he is the head of state.

Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau also signed a condolence book at Lancaster House and the Prime Minister delivered a message reflecting the Queen’s legacy in Canada.

WATCH | Trudeau praises Queen Elizabeth’s “regularity and firmness”:

Trudeau praises the “regularity and firmness” of Queen Elizabeth

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau stopped to view Queen Elizabeth’s coffin at Westminster Hall and later signed a condolence book at Lancaster House in tribute to the late monarch.

“I first met Her Majesty when I was seven years old and her presence throughout my life has been constant, inspiring and gracious,” he said.

“As Prime Minister, I have benefited from his advice, his thoughtfulness, his curiosity, his sense of humor and the commitment that has demonstrated a deep, deep and abiding interest and love for the Canadians.”

King Charles III greets members of the public lined up in the South Bank area of ​​London near the River Thames on Saturday as they wait to view Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin in state ahead of her funeral on Monday. (Aaron Chown/Press Association/Associated Press)

Many braved a cold night queuing while others entered Southwark Park to join the queue despite the UK Ministry of Culture asking members of the public to stay home as the wait time was increased to 24 hours. This number was later revised downwards.

Overnight, volunteers handed out blankets and cups of tea to people queuing as the temperature dropped to 6C. Despite the weather, mourners described the warmth of a shared experience.

“It was cold overnight, but we had wonderful companions, met new friends. The camaraderie was wonderful,” said Chris Harman from London. “It was worth it. I would do it again and again and again. I would walk to the end of the earth for my queen.”

Members of the public march past as King Charles III, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex hold a vigil next to the coffin of their mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster in London on Friday. (Yui Mok/Associated Press)

Funeral set for Monday

The flood of people wishing to say goodbye to the Queen has steadily grown since the public was first admitted to the room on Wednesday. On Friday, authorities temporarily stopped letting more visitors join the end of the line.

Some mourners were already lining prime viewing spots in the heart of London for the late monarch’s funeral on Monday.

The state funeral, which will be attended by nearly 100 presidents and heads of government, including those of Canada, the United States, France, Australia, Japan and Jamaica, will likely be one of the most great ceremonies ever held in Britain.

Shirin Thorpe, 62, from Sevenoaks in the south of the English capital, arrived on Thursday and camped near Westminster tube station on Saturday. It is near the historic hall where the Queen rests in state and Westminster Abbey, where her funeral will take place.

“There are going to be millions of people here and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity,” she said.

The Queen’s death on September 8 at her summer estate in the Scottish Highlands sparked a wave of emotion across the country and 10 days of highly choreographed events.

For pensioner Hasmukh Vara, 62, his decision to stand for 13 hours to observe the lie in state reflected his desire to say thank you to the late monarch – and to Britain – after moving from Kenya to the country in the 1970s.

Emerging from the vast, brightly lit room into the cool Friday night darkness by the Thames, he described himself as feeling “very, very high”.

“We came as refugees to this country,” he told Reuters. “For all my life, I am indebted to her because she gave us a home. It’s something we can never, ever forget. It’s very important to me and my family.”

WATCH | The Armed Forces and the Royal Family prepare for the Queen’s funeral:

The Armed Forces and the Royal Family prepare for the Queen’s funeral

Armed forces from Commonwealth countries met members of the Royal Family ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday. Meanwhile, the line of mourners hoping to pay their respects before the funeral continues to grow.

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