San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)
Grandchildren of queen gather for silent vigil
LONDON — All eight of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren stood in silent vigil beside her coffin Saturday, capping another huge day in which thousands came to pay their respects to the monarch. Many had huddled in line amid waits that stretched up to 16 hours, enduring London’s coldest night in months.
The tide of people wanting to say goodbye streamed to Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where the queen’s coffin is lying in state, draped in her Royal Standard and capped with a diamond-studded crown. The numbers have grown steadily since the public was first admitted to the hall on Wednesday, with a queue stretching at least 5 miles from the hall.
Honoring their patience, King Charles III and his eldest son Prince William made an unannounced visit Saturday to greet people waiting to file past Elizabeth’s coffin. The two senior royals shook hands and thanked the mourners in the miles-long line near Lambeth Bridge.
Later, all the queen’s grandchildren stood by her coffin. William and Prince Harry, Charles’ sons, were joined by Princess Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and the two children of Prince Edward — Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
Overnight, volunteers distributed blankets and cups of tea to people in line as the
King Charles III greets people waiting in London to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II. His son Prince William also thanked mourners ahead of the queen’s funeral on Monday.
temperature fell to 43 degrees. Despite the chill, 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 of London.
The lying-in-state continues until early Monday morning, when the queen’s coffin will be borne to nearby Westminster
Abbey for a state funeral, the finale of 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Elizabeth, 96, died at her Balmoral Estate in Scotland on Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne.
Hundreds of heads of state, royals and political leaders from around the world will attend the funeral, including President Biden.
After the service at the abbey, the queen’s coffin will be transported through London on a horse-drawn carriage. It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the queen will be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.