King Charles to hold 'Vigil of the Princes' at Queen Elizabeth II's coffin and lead siblings in Westminster Hall
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: King Charles and his siblings Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward are set to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, September 16, at a moving vigil. The new monarch is set to hold a 15-minute vigil at Queen Elizabeth's coffin on Friday evening at 7.30 pm. The senior royals are expected to repeat the ceremonial act they performed in Edinburgh, that is by taking guard of their late mother's coffin. Each stood in one of the four corners of the oak coffin with their heads bowed as part of the royal cortege known as the 'Vigil of the Princes'.
The royals will be in their military attire, with Prince Andrew wearing the uniform to pay respect to Her Majesty, even though he is not a working royal. Daily Mail reported that the Duke of York, who was banned initially from wearing the military uniform, is now lifted and it comes as a major relief for him for he was heckled during a procession in Edinburgh and had to solemnly bow his head while his siblings saluted as they walked behind their late mother's coffin as it was transported by gun carriage.
However, that is not applicable to Prince Harry, who sacrificed his royal life for a normal one in Los Angeles. The Duke of Sussex is reportedly still banned from wearing military colors. "I understand that, unlike Prince Andrew, Prince Harry will not be allowed to wear uniform at the final vigil in Westminster Hall", the Sussexes' official biographer Omid Scoobie tweeted earlier this week. "No doubt a huge blow for the Duke of Sussex, who served for 10 years and this morning spoke of the Queen being his 'commander-in-chief'."
The Queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, made history by becoming the first female member of the royal family to 'stand guard' as part of Monday's commemoration at the last 'Vigil of the Princes' at St Giles' Cathedral. Before Her Majesty's state funeral, almost one million mourners are anticipated to try and cram into the Palace of Westminster to pay their last respects. Tens of thousands of people have flocked to the capital in recent days, forming a huge snaking queue that has its own dedicated live stream and was more than four miles long by midday on Thursday, September 15.
Since 2002, Monday's 'Vigil of the Princes' marked the first time the tradition has taken place. There have been two such ceremonies in the past, in 1936, with the death of King George V in 1936, and in 2002, during the Queen's Mother's funeral. That vigil was attended by the royal's four grandsons, King Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and the Earl of Snowdon.