Queen’s children surround her coffin for sombre vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral

·2-min read

The Queen’s children stood in solemn reflection as they guarded her coffin for a short vigil while some of the first members of the public filed past.

The King, head bowed, returned to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh with his sister the Princess Royal and brothers the Duke of York and Earl of Wessex a few hours after attending a service of thanksgiving for the Queen.

It came shortly after the public were able to process past the Queen’s coffin for the first time since her death on Thursday.

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Members of the public walk past (Jane Barlow/PA)

Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward looked sombre as they took their places at the four sides of the oak coffin.

They stood alongside four suited members of the Royal Company of Archers, who were standing guard dressed in long-feathered hats and armed with longbows and a quiver of arrows.

The procession of members of the public queuing to view the coffin on Monday evening was temporarily paused to allow the royals to take their places.

Andrew kept his eyes closed for a period of time during the vigil, while Anne and Edward had their eyes fixed towards the floor.

Queen Elizabeth II death
King Charles III and other members of the royal family hold a vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral (Jane Barlow/PA)

Charles, wearing Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan and white heather in his lapel from Balmoral, kept his hands joined and also looked towards the floor.

Many of those filing past bowed to the new monarch.

The Queen Consort and Countess of Wessex sat on seats opposite the coffin while the vigil, which began at at 7.46pm and finished it at 7.56pm, took place in the ancient cathedral.

The Archers have been completing 20-minute periods of standing guard at the coffin, which will remain at St Giles’ for 24 hours before it is taken to London to lie in state.

Members of the crowd cheered as Charles arrived at the cathedral, and as he departed.

As he drove past them, they took pictures and video and said: “Here he is. Here he is. It’s the King.”

Charles waved at onlookers waiting at the barriers to see him.

One woman was heard to say: “I missed him earlier and travelled up from Glasgow to see him. I waited five hours – I finally saw him.”