Queen's children to stand watch over coffin in Vigil of the Princes

Queen's children to stand watch over coffin in Vigil of the Princes

September 15, 2022

King Charles III will lead ‘final vigil’ beside his mother the Queen’s coffin on Friday with Prince Andrew ALLOWED to wear military uniform for the only time during mourning period

  • Queen’s four children to mount 15-minute vigil around her coffin on Friday 
  • They’ll replicate the symbolic act they showed in Edinburgh as they form a guard 
  • Click here to view all of today’s Royal updates on MailOnline’s live blog
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

King Charles III will symbolically lead the ceremony honouring Queen Elizabeth II when he joins his siblings for a ‘final vigil’ around his late mother’s coffin as she lies in state, it was revealed today.

The new sovereign will be joined by the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex who will all play central roles in the historic ‘Vigil of the Princes’ that takes place at 7.30pm on Friday, just days before the Queen’s state funeral.

The senior royals are expected to replicate the ceremonial act they performed in Edinburgh, where they ‘took guard’ of their late mother’s coffin for 10 minutes. 

Each stood on one of the four corners of the oak coffin with their heads bowed as part of the royal cortège known as the ‘Vigil of the Princes’. 

It is understood that the ban on Prince Andrew wearing military uniform, which has seen him opt for a morning suit for public appearances this week, will be lifted as an exception for the final vigil held in London.

That will likely come as a relief for the Duke, who 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. 

Princess Anne, the Queen’s lone daughter, made history at the last ‘Vigil of the Princes’ at St Giles’ Cathedral when she became the first female member of the royal family to ‘stand guard’ as part of Monday’s commemoration. 

As many as one million mourners are expected to try and cram into the Palace of Westminster to pay their last respects to Queen Elizabeth II before her state funeral.

Tens of thousands of people have flocked to the capital in recent days, forming a huge snaking queue that has its own dedicated livestream and was more than four miles long by midday on Thursday. 

King Charles III, Anne, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward each stood on one of the four corners of the coffin in a ceremony known as the ‘Vigil of the Princes’ as the Queen lay in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, earlier this week

King Charles III (furthest left) will symbolically lead the final ceremony honouring the late Queen Elizabeth II, and will be joined by his siblings, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex who will all play central roles in the historic ‘Vigil of the Princes’

It is understood that the ban on Prince Andrew wearing military uniform, which has seen him opt for a morning suit for public appearances this week (above in Buckingham Palace), will be lifted as an exception for the final vigil. He lost that right after the Queen stripped him of his honorary military titles and royal patronages in January

Members of the public – who filed past the coffin in their thousands – were briefly held back to allow the royals to take their place. However, they continued to file past once the vigil began, offering them an extraordinary perspective on the historic moment in Edinburgh

Monday’s ‘Vigil of the Princes’ marked the first time the tradition has taken place since 2002.

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 Mother’s funeral.

That vigil was attended by the royal’s four grandsons – King Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and the Earl of Snowdon.

Millions of people across the UK are being urged to fall silent for two minutes during the closing moments of the Queen’s funeral on Monday – as part of a double moment of nationwide reflection honouring Her Majesty. 

The plea comes as Buckingham Palace today unveiled new details about the historic commemoration, which broadcasting experts predict will become the most-watched television event in history, viewed by billions around the world. 

Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral will ‘unite people across the globe and resonate with people of all faiths’, according to The Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, the man in charge of the historic occasion on Monday. 

He said that it was ‘both humbling and daunting’ to have the ‘honour and great responsibility’ to run an event that will be watched by billions of people around the globe. 

The Queen’s children stood guard over her coffin at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. Pictured is King Charles (centre front), Princess Anne (left), Prince Andrew (centre back) and Prince Edward (right)

While Charles, Anne and Edward all appeared in military uniform, Andrew wore only a morning suit, having been banned from wearing uniform on public occasions following his exile from public life. It is understood this ban will be lifted for Friday’s commemoration


The Queen’s children stand by their mother’s coffin in a sombre ceremony that has been honoured since the death of King George V in 1936. Pictured left: Princess Anne made history as the first female royal to take part in the ‘Vigil of the Princes’

King Charles, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex will all play central roles in the historic Vigil of the Princes that takes place at 7.30pm on Friday, just days before the Queen’s state funeral 

 The King kept his hands joined and also looked towards the floor as members of the public filed past

The procession which took Queen Elizabeth’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall arrived at 3pm yesterday

He added: ‘The events of recent days are a reminder of the strength of our Constitution, a system of government, which in so many ways is the envy of the world.

‘The Queen held a unique and timeless position in all our lives. This has been felt more keenly over the past few days as the world comes to terms with her demise.

‘The respect, admiration and affection in which the Queen was held, make our task both humbling and daunting. An honour and a great responsibility.

‘It is our aim and belief that the state funeral and events of the next few days will unite people across the globe and resonate with people of all faiths, whilst fulfilling Her Majesty and her family’s wishes to pay a fitting tribute to an extraordinary reign. 

On Monday morning, the doors of Westminster Abbey will open at 8am as the congregation of 2,000 VIPs begin to take their seats, three hours before the service begins at 11am. 

Hour-by-hour guide to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, September 19 

6-8.30am: Last vigil at Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall 

At dawn on the last day of national mourning, the King’s bodyguards will begin their final vigil at the Queen’s oak coffin in the Houses of Parliament. It will then close at 8.30am in preparation for the procession.

9am: Big Ben will strike

Big Ben will strike, before the bell’s hammer is covered with a leather pad to muffle it for the rest of the day, out of respect for the late monarch.

10.30am: Queen’s coffin is carried from House of Parliament to Westminster Abbey

The Queen’s coffin will be moved onto the state gun carriage which will be outside the north door of Westminster Hall.

From there, it will be pulled by naval ratings using ropes instead of horses from the Hall to Westminster Abbey.

Enormous crowds of mourners are expected to line the streets in Westminster as King Charles and senior members of the Royal Family follow the coffin as they did at the funeral for Princess Diana and for Prince Philip. The military will also join the procession. 

The coffin arrives at 10.52am before being carried into the Abbey. 

11am: The Queen’s coffin is carried to the High Altar

Around 2,000 guests including members of the Royal Family, Prime Minister Liz Truss, former British premiers, foreign dignitaries including US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and possibly Japanese Emperor Naruhito, and other VIPs, will fill the Abbey and watch as the Queen’s coffin is moved down the nave to the High Altar, before the nation falls silent.

11-12pm: The state funeral at the Abbey

The state funeral will be led by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

It is being televised and is expected to be beamed to millions around the world – and could well be one of the most watched live events in human history. 

Royal experts believe that the choice of the Abbey could be both because it is so big – it has a capacity of 2,000 though can hold as many as 8,000 – and more live TV broadcasts have already been held there.

It is also believed that it could be a better place for large crowds to gather to pay their respects, since it is in Central London.

And the Abbey was the setting for many of the most important events of the Queen’s life – from her Coronation to her wedding to Prince Philip. The Princess Royal and the Duke of York, and the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, were also married there.

Other royal funerals have been held at the Abbey, including Princess Diana’s in 1997 and the Queen Mother’s in 2002. The funeral of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Philip’s uncle, was also held there in 1979.

At the end of the service, the Last Post and Reveille will be played. There will also be a national two-minute silence.

12-1pm: Queen’s coffin is carried to Wellington Arch via The Mall

The Queen’s coffin will then be placed back on the state gun carriage, before the royal funeral procession will solemnly move through Parliament Square, Whitehall, Constitution Hill and The Mall, past Buckingham Palace, to arrive at Wellington Arch at 1pm.

1-4pm: The coffin is transported to Windsor

Then the coffin will be transported to Windsor, where the Queen spent much of the last years of her life, to her final resting place at St George’s Chapel via the Long Walk, arriving at 3.15pm.

4pm: Queen will be buried at St George’s Chapel by her husband Prince Philip

The committal service conducted by the Dean of Windsor will then begin, and will also be televised around the world.

Before the last hymn, the Imperial State Crown, sceptre and orb will be removed from the Queen’s coffin by the crown jeweller. 

Then at the end of the service, a lament will be played by a lone piper as the coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, where she will be buried alongside her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her beloved parents, and her sister Margaret.

7pm: King Charles attends private family burial service at chapel

King Charles and his closest family will return to the chapel for a private family burial service, where – as the late Queen did for her father – the monarch will scatter earth upon the coffin. 

Her majesty will then be carried on the the gun carriage that conveyed her mother and father to their funerals from Westminster Hall, arriving at 10.52am.

Moving elements of the funeral will include the sounding of the Last Post at 11.55am as the service nears its end, followed by a two-minute national silence which will be observed by the abbey congregation and by millions across the UK.

The Reveille and then the National Anthem will then take place, and finally a Lament played by the Queen’s Piper which will bring the service to a close at noon.

It has also been confirmed that at 12.15pm the Queen’s children and members of the Royal Family will walk behind her coffin to Wellington Arch when it leaves Westminster Abbey before Her Majesty is taken to Windsor to be laid to rest next to her beloved husband Prince Philip. 

Her Majesty’s hearse will arrive at the Long Walk at 3.15pm, where the public will be able to give their final respects.

There will be a televised ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor at 4pm on Monday. The King will scatter earth on his mother coffin at 7.30pm at a private family service. 

For eternity Her Majesty will be next to her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, her father King George VI and mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

After the state funeral, attended by some 2,000 guests, including visiting heads of state and other dignitaries, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun carriage before being driven by the state hearse to Windsor. 

The procession will arrive at the west gate of Westminster Abbey at 10.52am when the bearer party will lift the coffin from the gun carriage and carry it into the Abbey for the state funeral service, the Earl Marshal said.

The service will begin at 11am and will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster.

The Prime Minister and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth will read Lessons, while the Archbishop of York, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Free Churches Moderator will say prayers.

The sermon will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury who will also give the commendation, while the Dean will pronounce the blessing.

At around 11.55am the Last Post will sound, followed by two minutes of silence to be observed in the Abbey and throughout the UK.

Reveille, the national anthem and a lament played by the Queen’s piper will bring the state funeral service to an end at around 12 noon.

The bearer party will then lift the coffin from the catafalque and will move in procession through the Great West Door returning to the State Gun Carriage positioned outside the West Gate.

After the service the Queen’s coffin will be returned to the gun carriage by the bearer party and a procession will travel to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park.

The King and the royal party will take up their same places behind the coffin as when they escorted it to the Abbey, while the Queen Consort and Princess of Wales will travel to the site by car as will the Duchess of Sussex and Countess of Wessex.

The route will be lined by the Armed Forces from Westminster Abbey to the top of Constitution Hill at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates.

The Procession is formed of seven groups, each supported by a service band. 

Mounties from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will lead, immediately followed by representatives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, NHS, along with detachments from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth.

At Wellington Arch the royal family will watch as the Queen’s coffin is transferred to the new state hearse, whose details the Queen approved, before it begins its journey to Windsor Castle.

The Earl Marshal said that at 3.06pm, the state hearse will approach Shaw Farm Gate on Albert Road, Windsor, and join the procession which will be in position.

At 3.10pm the procession will step off via Albert Road, Long Walk, Cambridge Gate, Cambridge Drive, George IV Gate, Quadrangle (South and West sides), Engine Court, Norman Arch, Chapel Hill, Parade Ground and Horseshoe Cloister Arch.

At approximately 3.40 pm the King and other members of the royal family who are walking in the procession join it at the Quadrangle on the North side as it passes into Engine Court.

Members of the Queen’s, the King’s and the Prince of Wales’s households will be positioned at the rear of the coffin.

The Queen Consort with the Princess of Wales, and the Duchess of Sussex with the Countess of Wessex will again follow by car.

At 3.53pm, the procession will halt at the bottom of the West Steps of St George’s Chapel in Horseshoe Cloister.

The bearer party will lift the coffin from the state hearse, from where it will be carried in procession up the West Steps.

At 4pm a committal service conducted by the Dean of Windsor will then begin, and will also be televised around the world. 

King Charles and his closest family will return to the chapel for a private family burial service, where – as the late Queen did for her father – the monarch will scatter earth upon the coffin. This will happen at 4pm. 

The Prime Minister will meet a small proportion of world leaders attending London for the Queen’s funeral.

It is understood those meetings will be held between the country mansion of Chevening House and Downing Street over the weekend.

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said on Thursday that Downing Street could not yet confirm which world leaders Liz Truss will be meeting on the day.

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