Kate and Camilla have today enjoyed a lunch with governors-general of the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace, ahead of the ‘reception of the century’ tomorrow and the Queen’s funeral on Monday.
The Princess of Wales and Queen Consort were joined by Prince William and King Charles III as they chatted with dignitaries from the up to 56 countries that make up the group of nations.
Princess Anne and the Earl of Wessex were also seen making the rounds inside one of the palace’s ballrooms.
Kate, who wore her hair down, was pictured smiling at the Queen Consort, who was holding a drink with a slice of lemon in it, as the pair chatted.
At one stage, Kate, who was wearing a long three-strand pearl necklace and matching bracelet, placed her hand on the arm of Saint Lucia governor-general Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles as they spoke.
The governors-general of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu were among those present.
Edward and the Countess of Wessex Sophie were greeted with cheers from the waiting crowds as they exited the Palace following the lunch, before stopping to chat with well-wishers.
The Queen’s youngest son could be heard asking mourners where they had come from and whether they were making their way to Green Park to lay flowers.
Meanwhile, his wife was given bouquets and a stuffed toy as she shook hands with those gathered.
It came after Charles and his son William delighted hundreds of stunned mourners waiting to see the Queen lying-in-state on a surprise walkabout today – after they thanked emergency service staff for their work during the mourning period ahead of the state funeral on Monday.
Britain’s new monarch and the Prince of Wales greeted tired royal fans who are queueing 14 hours to see the Queen’s coffin at the Palace of Westminster.
Hundreds of people in line along the South Bank near Lambeth, south London cheered and applauded as Charles and William emerged, with many shouting ‘hip hip hooray’ and ‘God Save the King’ as the royals passed by. Many took photographs and pressed against the metal barriers, eager to exchange a word with the King and the heir to the throne as they shook hands with those closest.
One lady offered Charles condolences as he shook her hand, and another shouted: ‘I can’t believe this’ – while a third presented the two royals with a Paddington Bear toy, in reference to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee sketch with the beloved children’s character.
As the Prince of Wales shook the hands of mourners, he said: ‘It means an awful lot you’re here. She [the Queen] would never believe this. You’ll make some friends for life [those who have met in crowd’. Revealing that his wife Kate Middleton and children George, Charlotte and Louis were ‘ok’ and ‘all united in grief’, William also said that he became emotional seeing his grandmother’s corgis, adding: ‘They are being looked after – they have gone to a very good home’.
Several people cried after meeting the Prince of Wales, and one woman told him: ‘You’ll be a brilliant king one day’. Charles left before William, both of them in cars surrounded by police vehicles.
The Queen Consort and the Princess of Wales during a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace in London
The Princess of Wales chats with His Excellency Mr. Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles, Governor of St Lucia during a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace
The Queen Consort and the Earl of Wessex during a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations
Camilla and Kate beamed as they chatted at the lunch held at the Palace on Saturday
Kate and Charles converse with a dignitary from one of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace today
Charles, Kate, the Earl of Wessex, Princess Anne and Camilla are seen at a lunch at the Palace on Saturday afternoon
The Prince and Princess of Wales during a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace
King Charles III appears pensive while the Princess of Wales smiles as they hold court at Buckingham Palace on Saturday
The Princess of Wales wore a black dress in keeping with the tone of the events, which she matched with pearl earrings, necklace and bracelet
King Charles III and the Princess of Wales during a lunch held for governors-general of the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace
Earlier the royals met London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a curtseying Home Secretary Suella Braverman and London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley at Scotland Yard’s special operations. During the visit today in Lambeth, the King also met police staff, who he thanked for their planning and delivery of policing in the days leading up to his mother’s funeral, as well as workers at London Ambulance Service, London Fire Brigade, Transport for London and the Army.
The King concluded his tour of the home nations yesterday, starting his day with a visit to Wales, after trips to Northern Ireland and Scotland in recent days.
Final preparations are under way for the funeral in two days, with 2,000 VIPs – from world leaders Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Jacinda Ardern to royals including Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia and the Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima – expected to arrive throughout the weekend.
It comes after the King and his siblings last night held a silent vigil in Westminster Hall to pay a moving tribute to their beloved mother.
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth following her death
The Prince of Wales is presented with a Paddington Bear along the South Bank
King Charles III meets members of the public in the queue along the South Bank
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to the Queen in London
King Charles is presented with a Paddington Bear as he meets well-wishers in London
Prince William reacts next to people queuing to pay their respects to the late Queen
William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the Queen
William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to see the Queen lying-in-state
King Charles and William, Prince of Wales visit Metropolitan Police Headquarters
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to the Queen lying-in-state at Westminster Hall
William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen
William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth
Prince William greets people queueing to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth
King Charles meets excited royal fans queueing along the banks of the Thames
King Charles shakes the hands of well-wishers as he goes on a surprise walkabout with his son Prince William
William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen
William, Prince of Wales meeting royal fans along the banks of the River Thames
King Charles III and the Prince of Wales depart the Metropolitan Police Service Special Operations Room (SOR) Lambeth
King Charles III and Prince William leave from a meeting with emergency service workers in Lambeth
King Charles III meets London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Home Secretary Suella Braverman
Home Secretary Suella Braverman is greeted by King Charles III
King Charles III stands vigil beside the coffin of his mother, Queen Elizabeth
Members of the public join the queue in Southwark Park, south east London
Mourners form a massive queue near Tower Bridge this morning as they wait to see the Queen lying-in-state
A satellite image shows queues of people in central London waiting to pay their respects
A satellite image shows queues of people waiting to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth following her death
The route of the Queen’s final journey has been announced and her funeral cortege will use A-roads rather than motorways so as many people a possible can see her coffin
The guard is changed as members of the public file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall
A security member tackled and detained a cyclist who allegedly entered the square in front of Westminster Hall today
The cyclist was arrested today after an alleged chase in the Palace of Westminster, where the Queen is lying-in-state
Queen’s lying in state: What you need to know
The Queen is lying in state in London ahead of her funeral. Here is some of the information mourners need to know.
– What exactly is meant by the term ‘lying in state’?
Lying in state is usually reserved for sovereigns, current or past queen consorts, and sometimes former prime ministers.
During the formal occasion, the closed coffin is placed on view, as thousands of people queue to file past and pay their respects.
The coffin will be adorned with the Imperial State Crown, the Orb and the Sceptre.
– When and where will the Queen lie in state?
The late monarch’s lying in state in Westminster Hall opened to the public at 5pm yesterday and it will be open 24 hours a day until it closes at 6.30am on Monday, September 19 – the day of the Queen’s funeral.
– Where is Westminster Hall?
Westminster Hall, which dates back to 1099, is in the Palace of Westminster and is the oldest building on the parliamentary estate.
It forms part of the Westminster Unesco World Heritage Site and the UK Parliament website refers to its ‘great size’, the ‘magnificence’ of its roof, and its central role in British history.
The building has been the site of key events, such as the trial of Charles I, coronation banquets, and addresses by world leaders.
– Is there a big queue?
Yes. Government guidance says there will be a queue which is expected to be very long, predicted to be in the tens of thousands.
As it stands the queue is about 14 hours long.
People will need to stand for ‘many hours, possibly overnight’, with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving.
People are not allowed to camp and a wristband system is being used to manage the queue, with those waiting in line given a coloured and numbered one, specific to each person, allowing them to leave for a short period.
‘Your wristband also allows you to leave the queue for a short period to use a toilet or get refreshments, then return to your place in the queue,’ according to the official guidance.
– What is the queue route?
Members of the public can join the line on the Albert Embankment, which runs behind the London Eye onto the Southbank before following the river past landmarks such as the National Theatre, the Tate Modern and HMS Belfast, reaching ‘maximum capacity’ at Southwark Park.
– Is there assistance for people who cannot queue for long periods of time?
The main queue has step-free access with a separate accessible route also planned to run from Tate Britain where timed entry slots will be issued for a queue going along Millbank to the Palace of Westminster.
Guide dogs will be allowed inside Westminster Hall, with sign language interpreters also on hand.
Venues including the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe will open for longer hours to accommodate those queuing. The British Film Institute on the Southbank will do the same while providing an outdoor screen with archive footage of the Queen.
Queueing today, Shiv Pandian, 58, from Raynes Park, south-west London, said his 30 years working as a urologist for the NHS had prepared him for a long wait.
‘There’s lots of places to eat and toilets and things; you’re used to working long hours at the NHS,’ he said, laughing. ‘The Queen has served us for 70 years. I’ve served along with her for 30 years. I’ve seen three jubilees of hers, and I want to say goodbye.’
He added: ‘I got out at Waterloo and followed the queue backwards, and then at one point I was guided here to Southwark Park. Then it said reassuringly, it’s 14 hours from the entrance here, so I’m hoping by midnight today I’ll have seen the Queen.’
Paula Priest, 53, from Wolverhampton, said she was happy to wait ‘as long as it takes’ to reach Westminster Hall. ‘We’re here for the duration now, definitely.’
Those who braved the trip despite Government warnings were pleasantly surprised by the pace of the queue. Later on Saturday morning the tracker had stopped telling mourners not to travel, and the wait had dropped to 16 hours.
There was constant movement through Southwark Park until the Thames path along Bermondsey Wall East where the queue became more stationary.
Bright pink wristbands, which state they do not guarantee entry to Westminster Hall, continue to be handed out. Those waiting described the experience as well-organised, with friendly staff and officers on hand to assist.
This morning, new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley was seen patrolling the queue for the Queen’s lying in state near Lambeth Palace in south London. He greeted mourners, including several who were wearing blankets after waiting in line for hours through the early morning, and walked from the east towards Lambeth Bridge.
Alfie, 11, from Lancashire, wore his Scouts uniform complete with Platinum Jubilee badge, to join the queue for the lying in state.
His grandmother, Karen Todd, said: ‘Alfie really wanted to pay his respects to the Queen, and he wanted to come in his Scout uniform to honour her.
‘And we came because it’s a momentous occasion and a moment in history. They’ll always remember this for the rest of their lives, so we’ve only got this one opportunity.’
The family left home at 11.45pm on Friday, and Ms Todd said she ‘had to sleep in a car park for an hour and a half’ before getting on a bus to reach the queue.
Upon checking the queue tracker, Ms Todd said: ‘We were going to come this evening, but we came earlier because we didn’t want to miss it.’ She added: ‘It’s been okay. Clear roads. It’s well organised. Just hoping my legs and feet stay strong.’
The family brought thermals and plenty of snacks for the wait.
Sachet Pariyar had travelled from Basingstoke with his father, who had served in the Queen’s Gurkha regiment, to attend the lying in state.
He said: ‘My dad served in the British Army before and the Queen’s Gurkha regiment, and my grandfather as well. So, we feel like we have that connection with the Queen and we wanted to come and pay respects.’
He added that he had been checking the queue’s live tracker and had seen it might take 24 hours, adding he was ‘a bit worried’ about the wait, but ‘thought if we can get the wristband, then we will give it a try’.
Linda Partridge, 71, and Simon Hopkins, 59, travelled down from the West Midlands for the lying in state, despite warnings that the queue was closed, because they felt ‘that need to come down’.
Ms Partridge, who had left home at 3am, said: ‘Even though they said it was closed I felt that need to come down. If we’ve got here and then they turned away, then fine. I would have just felt I needed to come and then be told I couldn’t go’.
Mr Hopkins added: ‘There was a sense of perhaps ‘best not travel’ but just to make the journey and just to check it out, and you know, if it ended in disappointment, and then so be it.’
He likened the experience to a ‘pilgrimage’, which he said, ‘is a bit strange, because that kind of goes against my grain. I’ve been kind of drawn into it.’
James Birchall, 33, a trainee physiotherapist who travelled from Liverpool to pay his respects, was also queuing.
He said: ‘Now I just feel normal and unemotional but as I get closer and closer (to the Queen’s coffin) I think I’ll start to become more emotional and maybe five minutes before I go in I’ll probably, even though I don’t look like the type of person, I’ll probably start crying. I absolutely loved the Queen, she was great, she had been there all my life, I have always had respect for her. She was great for our country, always did her duty right until she died.
‘When she died I was overcome with emotion and I thought, I have got to come to London to see it.’
On the thousands of people queuing, he added: ‘I’m absolutely amazed because there is so many people, young and old – I did not think young people would come, necessarily, because they are not really in tune with monarchy, but there’s so many young people here to pay their respects which I think is awesome.’
Also queuing was Vlasta Picker, 73, of Bedford, who said: ‘I came here in 1977 on the Silver Jubilee. Growing up in central Europe, monarchy was a thing of the past, history.
King Charles III meets members of the public in the queue along the South Bank
King Charles III looks at an illustration of the Queen drawn by a well-wisher in London
King Charles III meets members of the public in the queue along the South Bank
Prince William meets excited royal fans queueing to see the Queen lying-in-state at Westminster Hall
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to the Queen
King Charles waves at well-wishers in a queue along the banks of the Thames to see the Queen lying-in-state
King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth
King Charles smiling as he shakes the hands of well-wishers in London
King Charles III meets members of the public in the queue along the South Bank
The Prince of Wales meets members of the public in the queue along the South Bank
William, Prince of Wales waves and shakes the hands of well-wishers along the South Bank
William, Prince of Wales joins King Charles III for a visit to Lambeth Met HQ
The Prince of Wales speaks to members of staff as he and King Charles III visit the Metropolitan Police Service Special Operations Room (SOR) Lambeth HQ
The King shaking hands with London Mayor Sadiq Khan at Lambeth HQ in London
King Charles III speaking with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley
King Charles III arrives for a visit to the Metropolitan Police Service Special Operations Room
King Charles visits Metropolitan Police Headquarters
King Charles shaking hands with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
King Charles III at an meeting with emergency service workers in Lambeth
William, Prince of Wales visits Metropolitan Police Headquarters in Lambeth
King Charles III thanks the emergency service workers for their work and support at Lambeth HQ in London
Home Secretary Suella Braverman walks with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley
Charles is cheered by crowds, shows off his Welsh skills and even speaks to a ‘lucky’ goat on first trip to Cardiff as monarch before departing for London where he will lead vigil for Queen tonight
King Charles III was cheered by thousands of adoring fans, showed off his Welsh language skills and even spoke to a goat mascot during what was a successful first trip to Wales as monarch.
The King was joined by the Queen Consort as he first attended a service of remembrance for his mother the Queen at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, where he was joined by the Prime Minister Liz Truss and Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford.
The congregation sang Welsh hymns including the much-loved Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer, whilst the Archbishop of Wales said in a tribute how the Queen ‘had the ability to relate to the man or woman on the Clapham Omnibus, or here, the Merthyr Tydfil Omnibus’.
In what was a packed day, Charles and Camilla went on to be greeted by adoring school children and thousands of other Royal fans, before he gave a historic speech in Welsh to the Senedd and spoke of how close Wales was to his mother’s heart.
His final stop was Cardiff Castle, where he had a private meeting with Mr Drakeford and then had a chance encounter with Sheinkin IV, the goat mascot for the Royal Welsh Third Battallion.
After shaking hands with adoring fans who flocked in their thousands to greet their new king, Charles and Camilla departed for the royal helicopter, which flew them to London.
There were a small number of anti-monarchy protesters gathered outside Cardiff Castle earlier, with one sign reading: ‘We serve neither king nor Kaiser but Wales!’
Charles said in his speech in the Senedd: ‘I am deeply grateful for the words of condolence which so movingly paid tribute to our late sovereign, my beloved mother The Queen.’
The King continued: ‘Through all the years of her reign, the land of Wales could not be closer to my mother’s heart.
‘I know she took immense pride in your many great achievements, even as she also felt you deeply in great times of sorrow. It must surely be counted the greatest achievement to belong to a land that inspired so much devotion.
‘I am resolved to honour that same example in the spirit of the words I always try to live my own life – Ich dien – I Serve.’
‘I was really quite mesmerised, it was massive in 1977 and I have admired her ever since because she was a wonderful person, unique. To serve all her life until the end, it’s something, isn’t it? Unprecedented. And that’s why I want to be here.’
Figures from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) show that 435 members of the public were treated along the route of the queue to see the Queen lying in state and surrounding areas over the past two days.
Some 291 people along the route of the queue and nearby in London were given medical assistance on Wednesday, with 17 needing hospital treatment, the LAS said. A further 144 people were treated on Thursday, with 25 people being taken to hospital.
The LAS said the majority of incidents attended were faints and collapses, resulting in head injuries.
It came as David Beckham made it inside Westminster Hall at about 3.30pm yesterday after joining the queue at 2am.
Meanwhile some people are trying to cash in by selling used wristbands for up to £350 on eBay. Those joining the queue receive wristbands to mark their place – so they can leave for a drink, or to go to the toilet, and then return.
MPs can jump the queue and bring in up to four guests, to the anger of those being forced to wait. Among those visiting yesterday were Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and Shadow Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner.
This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby cut sombre figures as they were seen at Westminster Hall. MailOnline was told the TV duo joined a separate queue for press and were taken into a press gallery.
Ex-England captain Beckham was spotted queueing at about 12.30pm, after joining the line at 2am to wait with everyone else. His representative confirmed to MailOnline that he had queued with the public, and said those around him initially did not take pictures of the 47-year-old star because there was an air of ‘mutual respect’.
Inside the park, a crowd formed in the holding pen next to the main queue as people begged to be let in. Security teams were allowing 100 people at a time from the holding area to join the main queue every ten to 15 minutes.
But outside the park, some people waited in the street with no idea of when they might be able to even join the queue.
The Government said in an update just before 10am: ‘Southwark Park has reached capacity. Entry will be paused for at least 6 hours. We are sorry for any inconvenience. Please do not attempt to join the queue until it re-opens.’
Just after 12pm, the Government also said the accessible queue was now ‘at capacity for today and entry for allocation of wristbands is currently paused’, adding that those with wristbands and entry times will still get in.
But then at 1pm, the entrance to Southwark Park reopened despite the Government still saying that the queue has been paused.
The gates were originally shut as queue attendants sought to deter new arrivals. However a second queue quickly began to form outside the park along Jamaica Road, leading attendants to reopen the gate.
A Number 10 spokesman directed questions to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, but said it was ‘the case that what DCMS have done is they’ve temporarily paused the queue for at least six hours after it reached maximum capacity.
‘That has always been part of our planning and that is to make sure as many as people as possible in the queue can enter the Palace of Westminster. But we keep it under review and there will be further updates from DCMS.’
The spokesman would not state what number of people represented ‘maximum capacity’ for the queue.
As Beckham approached Westminster Hall, he told Sky News: ‘This day was always going to be a difficult day. Our thoughts are with the family, it’s very special to hear all of the stories from people here. The most special moment for me was to receive my OBE. I took my grandparents with me who were huge royalists. I was so lucky that I was able to have a few moments like that in my life to be around Her Majesty. It’s a sad day, but a day to remember.’
Beckham added that it ‘meant so much’ to sing the National Anthem before England matches.
He told ITV News: ‘I thought by coming at 2am it was going to be a little bit quieter, but I was wrong, everybody had that in mind. But the people here, all ages, there was an 84-year-old lady walking around, a 90-year-old gentleman walking around. Everybody wants to be here to be part of this experience and to celebrate what Her Majesty has done for us.’
King Charles III holds a vigil beside the coffin of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II
Members of the public file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall
Lord and Lady, Michael and Anne Heseltine in the queue to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II
A woman reacts after viewing the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II
Wellwisher gives King Charles a pen ‘just in case’ after first days of his reign are beset by ink disasters
The new King Charles was given a pen ‘just in case’ by well-wishers on his walkabout in Cardiff yesterday after his latest ink disasters.
This follows after the King was left furious by a string of ink mishaps during his visit to Northern Ireland earlier this week.
The public clearly caught wind of his frustration after clips of the monarch started circling online showing him visibly upset by the pen ordeal.
A video clip of the handover shows a woman in the crowd hand the pen to the King whilst cheekily smiling at him. The surrounding crowd then start clapping and laughing at the gift. King Charles then take the pen gracefully, looks down at it in his hand and starts laughing, clearly amused by the gesture.
The Monarch and the Queen Consort arrived in Wales yesterday in their first visit since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Royal couple made their way to Llandaff Cathedral to attend a prayer and reflection service for his late mother and Britain’s longest serving head of state.
However, the King came prepared with his own pen and was filmed calmly signing the paper in the cathedral before passing his pen and the book to his wife.
The King’s decision to carry his own fountain pen comes days after a few drops on ink soured the mood at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast, earlier this week.
Images shared on Twitter showed many people trying to capture a picture of Beckham as he waited at the front of the line.
Twitter user Jules Birkby from Leeds said Beckham was ‘just a few lines behind us in the snake’, writing: ‘The Queue is now full of people trying to photograph David Beckham and forgetting to actually move onwards. It’s madness! I feel a bit sorry for him, but he’s taking it very well. It’s made me almost forget that we’ve been in The Queue almost TWELVE HOURS though.’
A fellow mourner said: ‘He was chatting happily to people around him about the times he met the Queen. I think we were all stunned to see him here given how famous he is. He had his cap pulled down so I think he was trying to keep a low profile.
‘I didn’t recognise him straight away but he was a lovely bloke, happy to talk. Clearly he was in the queue for some time, perhaps since the early hours like myself. He was obviously keen to pay his respects to the Queen and felt he should join the rest of us rather than use the VIP line which goes down much quicker.’
While some questioned whether Beckham had actually been queuing up, one woman tweeted: ‘My friend’s mum says he joined the queue at about 2am. He’s bought the people around him donuts! The guys a ledge.’
‘Compared to that, 15 or even 20 hours or however long it takes doesn’t seem too bad to say thank you and pay my respects.’
Karen Hare, 59, from Upminster, Essex, said: ‘We’ve been joking that we’re queuing up for the queue! As if that isn’t already long enough! ‘I’m annoyed at my husband because I wanted to leave the house at 3am and he talked me out of it only to change his mind at 9am.
‘If it wasn’t for him we’d be in the main queue by now. It’s not ideal but there’s thousands and thousands of people who want to pay their respects. That’s what the Queen means to people, she felt like part of your family.
‘I felt I had to come down today, I felt a sense of service to thank her for all the fantastic things she did for the country. We’ll never get this opportunity again and I knew if I didn’t come, I’d have regretted it all my life.’
Mourners said there was ‘breathtaking’ serenity awaiting them in Westminster Hall where ‘you could hear a pin drop’ in the silence.
But security jobsworths had a field day as they took hand sanitiser and boiled sweets from elderly mourners queuing.
Stewards in hi-vis were accused of being overzealous as they cracked down on what could and could not be brought into Westminster Hall. Mourners also described brazen pushing-in towards the back of the line as young people took advantage of spaces left by slow elderly people in the queue.
Officials have enforced airport-style security as the public enter the Palace of Westminster. One mourner was forced to hand over a single Werther’s Original, lipstick and hand sanitiser, while others told of various items being confiscated.
One of those who was waiting in the holding line was Terrence Houlahan, 56, who had ridden his Penny Farthing bike down to the park in Bermondsey from his home in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, some 40 miles north.
Mr Houlahan, who is originally from New York but has lived in the UK for 20 years, said: ‘It took me three hours to get here. In fact, a little longer as I first went to London Bridge by mistake thinking the queue started there.
‘So I’ve ridden all the way just to stand in line for 15 to 20 hours pushing my Penny Farthing along before cycling back another three hours in the dark. It sounds crazy but I wanted to be here and honour the Queen as well as show my support for the new King, Charles III. Charles has to put on a public show now in his new role and that must be busting him up inside. Most of us get to grieve privately. This is as much to show him solidarity as it is to pay tribute to the Queen.’
Mourners queueing in Southwark Park as they wait to see the Queen lying-in-state
More mourners carry coffee cups as they queue through Southwark Park to see the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall
Mourners including young children wrap up after temperatures plummeted overnight – as they queue to see the Queen
Members of the public build their tents in front Westminster Hall and Big Ben
Mourners queue opposite Parliament this morning as they wait to see the Queen lying-in-state
Members of the public continue to wait in line to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II
A person sits at a makeshift campsite set up along The Mall
The King’s first intervention? Charles tells Mark Drakeford he is ‘concerned’ about cost of living crisis
The King is ‘concerned’ about how people will manage during what is going to be a ‘difficult winter’, according to the First Minister of Wales.
Mark Drakeford said the impact of the cost-of-living crisis came up in conversation with Charles during their audience on Friday, after the new monarch addressed the Welsh Parliament for the first time as sovereign.
The First Minister said the King also told him he was interested in renewable energy generation in Wales, and how it might play a ‘bigger part’ in future energy security.
Mr Drakeford told TalkTV: ‘The King has always had a very direct interest in the things that are happening in contemporary Wales, the future of our agriculture, the impact of climate change.
‘He mentioned the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and how that will impact on people here in Wales.’
He added: ‘He (Charles) is concerned as to how people will manage through what is going to be a difficult winter.
‘He was interested to tell me about some of the projects that he has heard of, or become involved in dealing, for example, with food waste, making sure that we don’t waste a precious resource when some people might be going without.
‘Interested, as always in renewable energy generation here in Wales, and how it might play a bigger part in future energy security.’
Mr Drakeford has suggested the investiture proceedings for William, the new Prince of Wales, need not follow the same form as that of the 1969 ceremony that saw the title bestowed upon his father.
He told TalkTV: ‘Well, I certainly don’t think that 1969 is a good guide for what should happen in 2022. Wales is a very different place.
‘The nature of the monarchy has developed over that period. My message is that we shouldn’t be in a rush about all of this.
‘We should allow the new prince, as I say, to become familiar with his new responsibilities, develop the job in a way that will work for him and will work for Wales.
‘And then we can think about how and whether there is a need for any further ceremonial underpinning of what has already been announced.’
Mr Houlahan said he was going to leave his Penny Farthing outside Westminster Hall before heading inside. He said: ‘I don’t need to chain it up or anything because hardly anyone knows how to ride it.
‘But I race these bikes so I guess it’s also a good bit of training whilst also taking in a really important, historic moment. Something that is way bigger than myself or any individual.’
Moses Martinez, meanwhile, flew into London Heathrow Airport from Nicaragua this morning especially to join the queue of mourners.
The 32-year-old booked his flight as soon as heard news of the Queen’s death and has spent nearly £2,000 on flights and a hotel in London.
Mr Martinez, who lives in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, said: ‘I had to be here in London. I’ve never been here before, never been to the UK before.
‘But when I heard the Queen had died and seeing thousands of British people queue to see her lie in state, I knew now was the time that I had to go.
‘I flew in at 7am this morning after a 12-hour flight, dropped my bags in the hotel and came straight to this queue. I know I could be in line for as many as 20 hours but I don’t care, I don’t need sleep, I just want to pay my respects.
‘She meant so much to me, ever since I was a small boy. She was a symbol of Britain. I’ve paid a lot of money and it’s a lot of travelling but for me it’s worth all of it. People are very friendly and polite.
‘It’s a once in a lifetime experience, I thought to myself ‘it’s now or never’ as I won’t ever be able to do this again. I’m so glad I made the journey.’
Shannon Baird, 28, hopped on a flight from Dublin just to join the queue and will return straight after seeing the Queen’s coffin.
She lives in Pennsylvania in the US but is spending a few months in Ireland and said: ‘Once I’m done, I’m back on a flight at 9pm tomorrow. This is a moment in history and I had to be a part of it. I know it’s going to be tough but I’m prepared for it. She’s an iconic figure.’
Barrie Scott, 72, from East Moseley, said: ‘We’ve been in this secondary queue for 45 minutes so it’s a bit frustrating that we haven’t even joined the proper line yet.
‘But hopefully we’ll be through soon. It is moving still, people are being let through, we’ve not been turned away or anything like that.
‘I know it’s going to be a long, long day but then the Queen was on the throne for 70 years showing such service and dedication.
It comes after the King and his siblings – the Duke of York, Princess Royal and Earl of Wessex – held a silent vigil for their mother last night.
As members of the public watched in complete silence, the four senior royals – all in dress uniform – approached the Queen’s coffin. At just after 7.45pm, the duty officer struck the floor three times with his staff to signal the arrival of the late monarch’s four children.
They lined up, the King at the front, followed by Anne, Edward and then Andrew, as the staff was struck three times again. Solemnly, they approached the catafalque – the raised platform holding the coffin – to take their positions and approach their mother’s coffin.
Another three strikes of the staff, echoing throughout the cavernous Norman hall, and they stepped up before facing outwards, and then three strikes again.
Four candles flickered as they stepped up, the King, 73, sporting his Royal Navy ceremonial dress; Princess Anne, 72, in the uniform of the Blues and Royals, and the Earl of Wessex, 58, the Blues uniform with the rank of Honorary Royal Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry.
Former Royal Navy helicopter pilot Andrew, 62, who is no longer a working royal and has been stripped of his honorary affiliations, was given special permission by Charles to wear a uniform for the vigil as a mark of respect for Her Majesty. He chose his Vice-Admiral’s uniform, an honour given to him by the Queen on his 55th birthday.
Members of the public, many of whom had been queueing all day, were allowed to keep filing into the 900-year-old hall.
Tower Bridge looms in the background as mourners queue to see the Queen lying-in-state
Members of the public continue to wait in line to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II lying-in-state
A huge queue files near Tower Bridge this morning as mourners wait to see the Queen lying-in-state
Mourners queue in Southwark Park to see Queen Elizabeth II lying-in-state at the Palace of Westminster today
A group of women try to keep warm as they join the queue winding along the River Thames
Mourners today appeared to be in good spirits as they queue along the banks of the Thames
People have been camping on The Mall ahead of the funeral of the Queen
People wake up after a night spent at a makeshift campsite set up along The Mall
David Beckham wipes his eye while waiting to see the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall in London yesterday
Former England footballer David Beckham waits to see the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall in London yesterday
David Beckham said he feels ‘lucky’ to have spent time with the Queen while queueing to pay tribute yesterday
Dan Walker defends David Beckham from critics who claimed he only queued to see the Queen’s coffin to get publicity
Dan Walker has defended David Beckham after the former England captain was accused of visiting the Queen lying in state for ‘exposure’ purposes only.
Beckham’s trip was widely reported after he was spotted queuing amongst thousands of others on the way to Westminster Hall.
But hidden among the throng, Becks waited for more than 13 hours to pay his respects to the Queen, despite even being offered the chance to jump the queue by an MP.
Former BBC Breakfast presenter later praised 47-year old Beckham on Twitter, writing: ‘Fair play to David Beckham for joining the #queueforthequeue. 12 hours plus apparently to pay his respects.’
One user took the opportunity to criticised Beckham however, sparking Walker to come out in support of the star.
‘Had to show his face didn’t he, any chance of exposure,’ the user’s tweet read.
Dan, 45, meanwhile, replied: ‘Have a word with yourself Chris. He’s been there since 2am this morning. If he wants headlines he pops to the chippy in his PJs.’
Other users backed Beckham on the social media platform to defend him, however, with one writing: ‘Fair play to him.
‘Celebrities are the same as us all. No one should be allowed to jump the queue, what makes celebrities more special in this kind of situation, the Queen loved us all the same.
‘Nice one David and to all the other famous people who have waited patiently.’
Another commented: ‘Well done to David Beckham and to Susannah Reid who both queued for hours to pay their respects to Her Majesty The Queen while some so called ‘celebrities’ jumped the queue.’
A third tweeted: ‘Pity all other so called celebrities didn’t do the same.’
Another added: ‘Quite right as why should celebs be treated any different to the public. Well done Becks.’
Dressed in a suit that hid his famous tattoos, a cap and a Covid mask, Beckham, 47, joined mourners in the ‘Elizabeth line’ at 2am, going unnoticed by the masses for hours as he shuffled his way from Southwark Park to Westminster Hall.
After queuing for 13 hours, Beckham looked emotional as he moved past the coffin to pay his respects appearing at one point to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye. As England captain, he met the Queen several times and received his OBE from her in 2003.
Last night’s vigil had been intended to involve only the Queen’s four children, but in a remarkable show of family unity, 18 senior family members – as well as a host of other relatives – turned up to support them.
They included the Queen Consort, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Anne’s husband Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, Edward and Sophie’s children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall and her husband Mike, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
The vigil lasted 15 minutes and was in addition to that being mounted by the Household Division and Body Guards from 5pm on Wednesday to 6.30am on Monday, when the Queen’s official lying in state concludes. At that moment, the doors of Westminster Hall will close in preparation for the procession to Westminster Abbey, where the State Funeral service will take place at 11am.
Rehearsals are taking place across the weekend to make sure that everything is in place for Monday’s State Funeral, which will be the biggest show of pomp, pageantry and majesty seen in the modern age. World leaders and royalty from across the globe are flying in to pay their respects.
They will be joined by hundreds of charity representatives and members of the public honoured for their civic duty who have secured places in the 2,000-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey.
Palace officials yesterday extended the route of the Queen’s final journey from Westminster Abbey on Monday – the site of her funeral between 11am and 12pm – to Windsor Castle, her final resting place, to enable more people to bid her farewell.
First the Queen’s coffin will be borne by an extraordinary procession of the State Gun Carriage through London to Wellington Arch, where it will be transferred to the State Hearse at 1pm. Other members of the Royal Family will then travel along the M4 to Windsor, where a second ceremony will be held at St George’s Chapel.
But if the former monarch had been driven via the motorway, mourners wanting to say their goodbyes would have been unable to line the route.
The Daily Mail’s Robert Hardman was among those saying earlier this week that the post-funeral route should be extended so more Britons could say farewell. Now the palace has disclosed the route. From Wellington Arch, it will go along the south side of Hyde Park via South Carriage Drive before turning down Queens Gate, and then along Cromwell Road.
The cortege will follow the A4 through west London, going along Talgarth Road via the Hammersmith Flyover, and along the Great West Road.
Just before Heathrow, the hearse will switch to the A30 Great South West Road, and travel around the south side of the airport.
It will process along London Road, still the A30, and Staines Road, before crossing the M25 to Windsor Road (the A308) for the final leg to Windsor along a countryside stretch of the River Thames. The route will take the Queen’s coffin through 25 miles of London streets and villages in Surrey and Berkshire. Last night a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘The route to Windsor is planned with the public in mind.’
The news confirms suggestions that the Queen’s coffin would not travel on the M4, which would have been the quickest route, giving thousands more Britons the chance to pay their last respects as her coffin passes.
Travelling along A-roads west out of London to Berkshire means it will be easier for mourners to line up along the road.
Former Tory Cabinet minister David Jones, who called for an extended post-funeral route, had said last night: ‘I think it’s very important that as many people as possible have the opportunity to pay their last respects while in sight of the coffin. So it’s sensible that it’s not going all the way along the motorway, as people would not be able to do that there.
After the funeral finishes at around midday next Monday, the Queen’s children will walk behind her the carriage carrying her coffin to Wellington Arch.
Large screens will be set up in Hyde Park to allow people to watch the service. Once in Windsor, the hearse will arrive at the Long Walk at 3.15pm.
Earlier this week, the Mail’s Robert Hardman outlined the case for extending the post-funeral route so more Britons could say farewell. The funeral at Westminster Abbey will finish around midday next Monday.
Before her coffin is put into the state hearse, Her Majesty’s coffin will be carried on a 123-year-old gun carriage towed by 98 Royal Navy sailors in a tradition dating back to the funeral of Queen Victoria.
Harry and Meghan have been ‘uninvited to state reception at Buckingham Palace on Sunday after officials insisted event was for working royals only’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were ‘uninvited’ to a state reception for world leaders and foreign royals tomorrow evening, it was reported last night.
It is thought the couple received an invitation to the event, hosted by King Charles and the Queen Consort, earlier in the week.
But Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are now unlikely to attend after officials at Buckingham Palace insisted the reception was for working royals only, it is understood.
US President Joe Biden, French president Emmanuel Macron and the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau are among the heads of states who will arrive in London this weekend to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday.
World leaders, ambassadors and foreign royals will attend a reception at the Palace where they will also be greeted by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The confusion over Harry and Meghan’s invitation points to issues with communication between the Californian-based couple and the Royal Family, according to the Daily Telegraph.
It follows an apparent U-turn over Harry’s right to wear military uniform despite being a non-working royal.
The Palace is understood to have intervened to allow Harry to wear his regalia to a 15-minute vigil at Westminster Hall today.
Harry had previously said he would wear a morning suit to all the funeral events.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were also said to be furious after it was revealed their children will not be granted HRH status when they are appointed by prince and princess by King Charles III.
A source claimed to The Sun, that Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, are set to be officially made prince and princess in the near future as Charles has agreed to issue a Letters Patent to grant the titles.
But a report claims that following tense talks between the new King over recent days, the Sussexes have been left ‘furious’ that their children will not also get HRH titles.
The sailors, known as the Sovereign’s Guard, will pull on ropes attached to the carriage’s front wheels, drawing the late monarch forward.
The tradition of the carriage being pulled by sailors stretches back to when the day of Victoria’s funeral in 1901.
Her coffin was being carried through the streets of Windsor by a team of horses but the animals panicked and reared up, threatening to topple the coffin off the carriage.
Captain Prince Louis of Battenberg – the future First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy – intervened and suggested to the new monarch, Edward VII, that the sailors should step in.
Once this was agreed, the horses were unharnessed and improvised ropes were attached to the gun carriage, which weighs 2.5 tonnes (3,000kg), and the team of sailors was brought in to ensure the coffin was carried safely for the rest of the route.
Only nine years later, at the funeral of Edward VII, the new routine became enshrined as a tradition which has been followed at all state funerals since.
The same State Gun Carriage has since been used at the funerals of King George V in 1936, King George VI in 1952, Sir Winston Churchill in 1965 and Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.
The Committal Service at St George’s Chapel will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor and feature a congregation of the late monarch’s family and friends and mourners from her household past and present, including her personal staff from across her private estates.
At the end of the final hymn, the King will place the Grenadier Guards’ Queen’s Company Colour – the royal standard of the regiment – on the coffin.
Baron Parker, the Lord Chamberlain and the most senior official in the late Queen’s royal household, will ‘break’ his Wand of Office and place it on the Coffin.
As the coffin is lowered into the royal vault the Garter King of Arms will pronounce the styles and titles of the Queen and the Sovereign’s Piper will play a lament and walk slowly away so the music fades.
In the evening, a private burial service will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, attended by Charles and members of the royal family.
Large parts of Central London will be closed for the Queen’s funeral, with up to one million people expected to descend on the capital.
Roads around Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament are all set to be shut until at least the start of next Tuesday – including Whitehall, Birdcage Walk, The Mall, Constitution Hill, Northumberland Avenue, Horse Guards Avenue, Horse Guards Road, Victoria Street, Buckingham Gate, Marlborough Road and Victoria Embankment.
Westminster Bridge will also remain closed. While pedestrians and cyclists are set to be allowed to move through most of the areas, the closures will impact public transport – and the council said bicycles may be removed.
The council also warned pedestrian access to some areas will be affected as it tries to ‘minimise the impact on residents, businesses and local communities’. It added that it was allowing resident permit holders of affected zones A, D and G to park in resident bays in other zones across Westminster until 8.30am next Wednesday.
There will be a significant impact on roads in Kensington and Chelsea in West London – with the local authority there warning that roads from Kensington High Street south will not be accessible on the day of the funeral.
Queen’s Gate and Cromwell Road – as well as most other major roads across the borough and all the bridges – will be closed on Monday from 6am until later in the day when police decide it is safe for them to reopen.
The local authority said there will be ‘significant traffic’ on Monday and told residents they will have ‘restricted access which will make it very difficult to move around the borough and get out of the borough’.
Prince William tells soldiers who will be taking part in the Queen’s funeral that Her Majesty will be ‘looking down’ on the service
Prince William has told soldiers who will be taking part in the Queen’s funeral that Her Majesty will be ‘looking down’ on her funeral service at Westminster Abbey.
The service, which will take place in central London on Monday, will be attended by hundreds of world leaders, foreign dignitaries and members of the Royal Family.
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are making the trip from Washington, while several European royals have confirmed they will attend the elaborate affair.
The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Army Training Centre Pirbright in Surrey on Friday, where they spoke with Commonwealth troops participating in the procession.
William was heard speaking with troops from the New Zealand Defence Force about how the Queen would be keeping an eye on Monday’s proceedings.
Greg Gifford, 31, said: ‘One of the key things I took away from what he said was how the Queen will definitely be looking down on the whole funeral service.
‘He said she would be interested in the detail of the soldiers, how the drill is carried out, it’s precision, our dress, things like that.’
William and Kate also told of how ‘strange’ it has been going from the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to her funeral in a matter of months.
The Prince of Wales, talking with troops from Australia, was heard saying the difference between the celebrations in June and the funeral preparations shows ‘the highs and lows of it all’.
A ring of steel will surround Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s funeral in the biggest security operation in Scotland Yard’s near-200 year history.
At least 10,000 police officers including 2,000 from around the UK will be guarding central London and the Queen’s 23 mile route to Windsor Castle on Monday. Many roads and bridges will be shut to traffic and 23-miles of barriers put up to control crowds and keep key areas empty or secure.
Yesterday it was announced that the King had given permission for the Queen’s eight grandchildren to stand vigil beside her coffin in Westminster Hall tonight. William will stand at the head, with his brother Harry at the foot.
A spokesman said: ‘At the King’s request, they will both be in uniform.’ Earlier in the week officials had said only working members of the Royal Family would be permitted to wear military uniform – meaning Princes Andrew and Harry would be forced to wear mourning dress.
When it emerged that Andrew had been given special permission to wear a uniform last night, there was widespread condemnation that Harry appeared to be left out. Sources said the U-turn was not as a result of any lobbying by Harry, adding that it was a decision made solely by his father in a spirit of unity and honour to the Queen.
It came as the King last night set out what kind of monarch he wants to be, telling faith leaders at Buckingham Palace that he believes it is his ‘duty’ to protect the diversity of the country including ‘religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs’.
He said: ‘I have always thought of Britain as a ‘community of communities’. That has led me to understand that the Sovereign has an additional duty – less formally recognised but to be no less diligently discharged.
‘It is the duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals.’
The King told the reception in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace how much their words of condolence meant to him after the death of his mother the Queen last week.
He added: ‘I also wanted, before all of you today, to confirm my determination to carry out my responsibilities as Sovereign of all communities around this country and the Commonwealth and in a way which reflects the world in which we now live.’
Charles said his own Christian beliefs ‘have love at their very heart’ and that they ‘bound’ him to respect those following other religious paths.
He said: ‘As a member of the Church of England, my Christian beliefs have love at their very heart. By my most profound convictions, therefore – as well as by my position as Sovereign – I hold myself bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals.
‘The beliefs that flourish in, and contribute to, our richly diverse society differ. They, and our society, can only thrive through a clear collective commitment to those vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit and care for others which are, to me, the essence of our nationhood.
‘I am determined, as King, to preserve and promote those principles across all communities, and for all beliefs, with all my heart. This conviction was the foundation of everything my beloved mother did for our country, over her years as our Queen. It has been the foundation of my own work as Prince of Wales. It will continue to be the foundation of all my work as King.’
The King described himself as a ‘committed Anglican Christian’ who at his coronation will take an oath relating to the settlement of the Church of England.
He noted he has already ‘solemnly’ given an oath at his accession ceremony which pledges to maintain and preserve the Protestant faith in Scotland.
There was a gentle ripple of applause as the King left the Bow Room at the palace, stopped for a second, waved and left.