London prepares for arrival of Elizabeth II’s coffin after King Charles leads royals in keeping vigil

·2-min read

London is preparing to have the Queen’s coffin lying in state after the new King led a moving vigil to end a day of condolences and procession in Edinburgh.

King Charles III and his siblings solemnly stood on each side of their mother’s coffin at St Giles Cathedral on Monday evening as some of the first members of the public quietly filed past to pay their respects to the longest reigning monarch.

The King had his head bowed in a poignant 10 minutes of silence shared with the Duke of York, Earl of Wessex and Princess Royal.

It ended what was a long and sombre day for the King, who heard tributes from MPs in both Westminster Hall in London and the Scottish Parliament, and who led a procession as his mother’s coffin was taken from Holyroodhouse along the Royal Mile in the Scottish capital in front of thousands of mourners.

King Charles III and other members of the royal family hold a vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral (PA Wire)
King Charles III and other members of the royal family hold a vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral (PA Wire)

While addressing parliament in London, the King said: “I cannot help but feel the weight of history which surrounds us”.

“While very young, Her late Majesty pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government which lie at the heart of our nation.

“She set an example of selfless duty which, with God’s help and your counsels, I am resolved faithfully to follow.”

He told the Scottish Parliament: “I take up my new duties with thankfulness for all that Scotland has given me.

The King, accompanied by the Queen Consort, addressed MSPs during a debate on a motion of condolence in honour of the Queen (PA Wire)
The King, accompanied by the Queen Consort, addressed MSPs during a debate on a motion of condolence in honour of the Queen (PA Wire)

“With resolve to seek always the welfare of our country and its people and with wholehearted trust in your goodwill and good counsel as we take forward that task together.”

The Queen will lie in St Giles Cathedral for mourners to see until Tuesday afternoon, but the Scottish Government has warned that people will be waiting past midnight to catch a glimpse of her coffin.

At around 3pm on Tuesday, the monarch will leave Scotland and travel via a RAF aircraft to London from Edinburgh Airport, accompanied by the Princess Royal and her husband.

A person sits next to tents pitched along The Mall (AFP via Getty Images)
A person sits next to tents pitched along The Mall (AFP via Getty Images)

The Queen will rest in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace overnight before being taken to Westminster Hall on Wednesday, where she will remain until her state funeral on Monday September 19. Further details of the funeral are yet to be released but the day will be a public holiday.

London has been preparing for her lying in state, with police numbers being bolstered across train stations and roads being blocked off.

Members of the public have already started lining up in the capital, despite not being able to see the Queen’s coffin until Wednesday afternoon.

The King and Queen Consort will attend a number of engagements in Northern Ireland on Tuesday and receive a message of condolence led by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

They are expected to be greeted by thousands of members of the public, who have been encouraged to line the streets of the city in the afternoon.