LONDON | Often referred to as enemy brothers, Princes William and Harry were reunited around their coffin on Saturday night at a wake for Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren, a ceremony that Brits flocked to ahead of her funeral on Monday.
The two brothers wore uniforms – Harry hasn’t worn them since his harrowing retirement from the monarchy – unlike their six cousins Peter, Zara, Beatrice, Eugenie, Louise, who was said to be the Queen’s favorite granddaughter, and James, who rarely appeared public.
Back to the coffin, heads bowed, visibly moved, they gathered in Westminster Hall for ten minutes under the gaze of visitors. After long hours of queuing, they continued their parade without a break to bid farewell to the popular sovereign who died on September 8 at the age of 96 at her Balmoral residence in Scotland.
King Charles III’s children devoured since 2020 and the late Princess Diana had already caused a surprise by showing up with their wives Kate and Meghan on a tour of Windsor Castle two days after the Queen’s death.
We spotted them a few feet apart at the very official procession behind the Queen’s remains between Buckingham Palace and Westminster on Wednesday.
Prince William, heir to the crown, who now bears the title Prince of Wales, has been at odds with his younger brother since Harry announced in March 2020 that he was distancing himself from the royal family, causing an earthquake in the UK.
Last chance to see the queen
“I love you William!”: The eldest of the two brothers enjoys great popularity, as he did on Saturday afternoon during a surprising tour with his father Charles III. again at the gathering of the British bowing before the coffin.
Now the hours are counted to gather after more than 70 years of reign in front of the mortal remains of the sovereign, who was very popular until her death – in her closed coffin, which is surmounted by the magnificent imperial crown.
Two days before the “funeral of the century,” to which foreign dignitaries began flocking, the wait in line along the Thames to Westminster Hall in London to see the coffin exceeded 11 hours on Saturday night, and authorities went public attentive to the expected cooling overnight.
The public has until 6:30 a.m. Monday morning to pay their last respects to the sovereign, final farewells in meditation, sometimes with tears, for a sovereign who has become a symbol of unity and stability during her reign of record length in Britain history.
“It was so moving, with a really beautiful, peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. The line was long but it looked like a celebration,” Jenna O’Sullivan, 36, told AFP after waiting 14 hours to finally see the coffin.
In a rare incident at the ongoing tributes, a man was arrested Friday night after exiting the line and approaching the coffin, authorities said.
Diplomatic Ballet for Charles
London is feverishly preparing for its first state funeral since Winston Churchill’s in 1965. For the police, the event promises to be even more impressive than the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The record has been consulted and reviewed for many years and Her Majesty’s troops tirelessly take to the streets to repeat the course and gestures for the event.
Before the funeral in Westminster Abbey, Charles III. Representative of the 14 other Commonwealth kingdoms of which he is Head of State.
Some leaders of the organization, to which Elizabeth II was very attached but which is being rocked by the republican temptations of certain members, particularly in the Caribbean, had opportunities to meditate in front of the coffin, including Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Jacinda Ardern and Anthony Albanese.
Distinguished guests began pouring into London, starting with US President Joe Biden, who was due to land in the capital that evening. He will be on Sunday evening at one of Charles III. hosted reception for invited heads of state.
On Monday morning, a procession will accompany the Queen’s coffin to Westminster Abbey, where the funeral will take place at 10am GMT.
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.
Elizabeth II is buried with her father King George VI and her husband Prince Philip in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in west London.