Queen’s funeral latest: King Charles meets world leaders after surprise visit to queue with Prince William

·21-min read

King Charles III has been greeting world leaders in Buckingham Palace who have come to pay their respects to the Queen.

Among those he has met in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace were Prime Minister of Canada and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.Earlier the King and Prince William met members of the public on Lambeth Bridge in a surprise visit to ‘The Queue’.

They thanked people who have come to pay their respects to the Queen.

They had earlier visited the Metropolitan Police central control room to thank emergency service workers for their work and support ahead of the Queen’s funeral.

The king shook hands with the new commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the new Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

Later the Earl and Countess of Wessex met with well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile officials have warned the waiting time for the queue to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state is up to 14 hours - although it has fallen from 24 hours overnight.

The Government’s tracker feed has warned that entry to the queue will be paused if it reaches capacity. It had earlier warned people not not to travel to join the line.

Thousands of people queued through the night to see the Queen’s coffin.

Mourners last night could file past while the Queen’s children mounted a vigil around her coffin.

At around 10pm a man was arrested after ‘rushing towards the Queen’s coffin and lifting the Royal Standard’.

Her grandchildren including Prince William and Prince Harry are due to hold a similar vigil on Saturday evening.

19:51 , Robert Dex

This is the end of our live blog tonight. Thank you for reading, there will be more tomorrow.

Grandchildren’s vigil is over

18:22 , Robert Dex

The Prince of Wales led his brother and cousins out of Westminster Hall as the vigil ended.

William was followed Zara Tindall and Peter Philips, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and the Duke of Sussex.

Duke of Sussex in uniform for vigil

18:20 , Robert Dex

The Duke of Sussex wore a Blues and Royals No 1 Uniform, KCVO Neck Order and Star, Afghanistan Operational Service Medal, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals and Army Pilot Wings.

Other family members watched on from the sidelines during the vigil, among them The Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Grandchildren deep in thought as they stand vigil

18:19 , Robert Dex

The Queen’s eight grandchildren looked deep in thought as they stood guard around her coffin for a vigil in Westminster Hall.

The Prince of Wales was flanked by his cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Philips, while the Duke of Sussex stood with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, as Lady Louise Windsor and her brother Viscount Severn were at the middle of the coffin.

 (via REUTERS)
(via REUTERS)

They had their heads bowed as members of the public filed past them.

William wore the Blues and Royals No 1 uniform, the Garter Sash, the Garter Star, the Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee Medals and RAF pilot wings.

 (Sky News)
(Sky News)

Grandchildren begin their vigil

18:05 , Robert Dex

The Queen’s eight grandchildren, led by Prince William and Prince Harry who were both in uniform, have begun their vigil over the Queen’s coffin.

The Prince of Wales led his brother the Duke of Sussex, as well as his cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Philips, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn into Westminster Hall.

William was followed in by Harry, with the Duke of York’s daughters, the Earl of Wessex’s children and the Princess Royal’s children behind them.

Uniformed Prince to stand vigil

18:02 , Robert Dex

Prince Harry was seen arriving in uniform to stand vigil.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

King Charles meets world leaders

17:54 , Matt Watts

On Saturday, Charles met leaders of the 14 countries where he is head of state such as Canada, Australia, and Jamaica after meeting the governors-general - the people who represent the monarch in overseas realms - at Buckingham Palace. Among those he has met in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace were Prime Minister of Canada and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

 (AP)
(AP)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

King meets five Prime Ministers today

17:52 , Robert Dex

Buckingham Palace said five prime ministers held audiences with the King on Saturday afternoon.

They were Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Australia leader Anthony Albanese, The Bahamas’ PM Philip Davis, the PM of Jamaica Andrew Holness, and Jacinda Ardern, PM of New Zealand.

Queen’s grandchildren arrive for vigil

17:50 , Robert Dex

The Queen’s grandchildren have arrived at Westminster to hold their vigil over her coffin as she lies in state.

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie pay tribute to the Queen

17:13 , Matt Watts

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have paid a personal tribute to the Queen, saying: “Goodbye dear Grannie, it has been the honour of our lives to have been your granddaughters and we’re so very proud of you.”

Pictured: King Charles III sits with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Buckingham Palace

16:23 , Sami Quadri

 (PA)
(PA)

Pictured: Members of the public queuing near Tower Bridge

16:20 , Sami Quadri

 (PA)
(PA)

16.5 hour wait advised at queue

16:02 , Matt Watts

The back of the queue continues to move at pace in Southwark Park, as mourners continue to arrive for the lying in state.

The weather for those waiting in line is pleasantly warm and sunny, though most mourners have brought additional layers in preparation for the cooler temperatures later on.

Current wait time is an estimated 16.5 hours.

Liz Truss meeting with Joe Biden cancelled

15:38 , Matt Watts

Prime Minister Liz Truss will hold a full bilateral meeting with Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday rather than meeting the US president at Downing Street on Sunday, her office said on Saturday.

Leaders from all over the world including Biden are flying to London ahead of Queen Elizabeth's state funeral on Monday.

Some foreign leaders are still scheduled to hold meetings with Truss, who succeeded Boris Johnson as Britain's prime minister earlier this month.

Truss on Saturday spoke with the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, who expressed his condolences following the Queen's death, her office said.She also spoke with Australian PM Anthony Albanese and New Zealand's premier Jacinda Ardern at the Government’s Chevening country residence.

Edward: ‘I know that my mother would really appreciate this fantastic support’

15:33 , Matt Watts

Here are some pictures of the Earl and Countess of Wessex meeting well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace earlier.Edward told mourners the Queen would “appreciate” the number of people paying their respects.

Well-wishers could be heard telling Edward and Sophie “sorry for your loss” outside Buckingham Palace.

The Queen’s youngest son told those in the crowd: “I know that my mother would really appreciate this fantastic support”.Sophie stopped to look at one young girl’s T-shirt, which was printed with photos of the Queen through the decades of her reign.

Sophie collected armfuls of flowers including sunflowers and roses, and was given paper tributes to the late monarch by some of the well-wishers.

Sophie and the Earl of Wessex also walked over to meet members of the public stood behind barriers on the edge of Green Park.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

Canada PM and his wife sign book of condolence

15:05 , Matt Watts

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Trudeau have signed a book of condolence to the Queen at Lancaster House in London.They are visiting to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth on Monday.

 (AP)
(AP)

14:58 , Sami Quadri

The Prince and Princess of Wales joined the King and Queen Consort for a Buckingham Palace lunch with governors-general from the Commonwealth realms on Saturday.

Kate was seen deep in conversation with Camilla.

The princess, who wore her hair down, was pictured smiling at the Queen Consort, who was holding a drink with a slice of lemon in it, as the pair chatted.

At one stage, Kate, who was wearing a long three-strand pearl necklace, placed her hand on the arm of Saint Lucia governor-general Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles as they spoke.

The princess also stood next to the King as he spoke to the dignitaries, with William also mingling in the busy room.

The governors-general of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu were among those present.

Prince Edward and Countess of Wessex greet crowds

14:56 , Sami Quadri

Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex have been spotted greeting well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace.

Sophie was handed boquets of flowers and a teddy by mourners waiting outside.

Saudi crown prince will not attend Queen’s funeral

14:38 , Sami Quadri

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will travel to London to meet the King but will not be attending the Queen’s funeral, according to reports.

Representatives from Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry will likely attend, but King Salman will not.

Queen’s face ‘lit up’ recalling Paddington sketch

13:40 , Sami Quadri

The Queen’s face “lit up” as she recalled her infamous Platinum Jubilee sketch with Paddington Bear, a former Church of Scotland moderator has recalled.

The Very Rev Dr Martin Fair has told of his pride after he stayed with the late monarch at Balmoral Castle at the end of August just before her death on September 8.

The sketch saw the Peruvian bear visit Buckingham Palace for afternoon tea, where the Queen shows him a marmalade sandwich from her handbag.

Dr Fair said: “Her face lit up with the most radiant smile you could imagine, and she said, ‘it was rather fun, wasn’t it?’

“As I look back on that evening, I’m so glad that she was in such good form – smiling, laughing and enjoying the recounting of special memories.”

Royals thank emergency service workers

13:32 , Matt Watts

Prince William and his father King Charles earlier thanked staff at the Metropolitan Police Service Special Operations Room in Lambeth.The workers will play a vital role in the Queen’s funeral on Monday which has been described as Britain’s biggest ever security operation.

 (PA)
(PA)

‘Put your phones down and enjoy the moment’

13:20 , Matt Watts

As the King made his way along the queue people were consistently urged by a security guard to put their “phones down, shake hands and enjoy the moment”.

‘I hope you’re not too frozen'

13:17 , Matt Watts

One couple told King Charles they met him yesterday in Wales; while another said they had already queued through the night for 13 hours.

"I hope you’re not too frozen," the King could be heard telling one woman.

He stood chatting briefly to a woman clutching a Paddington Bear toy who said she had come from Peru.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

William thanks people for waiting in line for so long

13:10 , Matt Watts

The Prince of Wales thanked people for waiting in line for many hours for the Queen’s lying in state, as he shook hands with mourners.

Several people cried after meeting him, and one woman told him: “You’ll be a brilliant king one day”.

Charles left before William, both of them in cars surrounded by police vehicles.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Crowds cheer Charles and William

13:04 , Matt Watts

Hundreds of people cheered and applauded as Charles and William emerged to meet them in the queue.

Many took photographs and pressed against the metal barriers, eager to exchange a word with the King and the heir to the throne as they shook hands with those closest.

Several also shouted “God Save the King” and “God Save the Prince of Wales” as each passed by.They king and prince both encouraged people who were queuing and thanked them.

One lady offered Charles condolences as he shook her hand, and another shouted: “I can’t believe this.”

Dozens shouted “hip hip hooray” as Charles and William moved down the line, stopping for a few moments with each person.

Several people called their friends and relatives on the phone to tell them what they had just witnessed.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Prince William meets people in 'The Queue’

12:51 , Matt Watts

Here is Prince William greeting people queing to pay their respects for the Queen. He told people in the crowd he “hopes their finger and toes are ok” after queuing through the cold temperatures in the early hours.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

King Charles III and Prince William make surprise visit to ‘The Queue'

12:46 , Matt Watts

King Charles III and Prince William are meeting people in the queue who are waiting to pay their respects to the Queen.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

12:28 , Matt Watts

King Charles III walked with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley as he arrived for a visit to the Metropolitan Police Service Special Operations Room in Lambeth. He was to thank emergency service workers for their work and support ahead of the funeral of his mother.The control room will play a vital role in the security operation to keep members of the Royal Family, dignitaries, and visiting heads of state and the public safe during the funeral.

 (PA)
(PA)

Hundreds of soldiers take part in rehearsals ahead of funeral

11:50 , Sami Quadri

Hundreds of soldiers have taken part in early-morning rehearsals in Windsor ahead of the Queen’s funeral.

After Monday’s service at Westminster Abbey, the late monarch’s coffin will be driven from London to the Berkshire town in the state hearse.

The hearse will then travel in procession to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle via the Long Walk, which will be lined by members of the armed forces.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, marching bands playing music and Grenadier Guards flanking a hearse were spotted rehearsing ahead of the service.

Mounted police officers walked in front of the procession, followed by members of the Life Guards carrying swords, as well as a pipe band dressed in tartan and members of the Household Cavalry.

Around 30 Grenadier Guards, walking in two single-file lines, marched alongside the hearse.

The Grenadier Guards is one of the most senior regiments in the British Army with soldiers recognised by the scarlet tunic and bearskin uniforms they wear on ceremonial duty at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

After the rehearsal, Coldstream Guards and members of the Royal Navy could be seen marching down the High Street in Windsor and towards Victoria barracks.

Funeral rehearsals in Windsor

11:11 , Matt Watts

The military have been rehearsing their roles in the Queen’s funeral on Monday.

The Royal soldiers were dressed in their scarlet uniforms and bearskin hats as they marched down the high street in Windsor.

The Grenadier Guards will lead the Army’s contribution to the state funeral of Her Majesty.

Met Commissioner patrolling queue

10:53 , Sami Quadri

New Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley is patrolling the queue for the Queen’s lying in state near Lambeth Palace in south London.

Sir Mark greeted mourners, including several who were wearing blankets after waiting in line for hours through the early morning.

He walked from the east towards Lambeth Bridge.

The queue is moving more quickly, with the latest estimated wait time being 16 hours.

The Queue gets its own weather forecast

10:51 , Matt Watts

The queue for the Queen lying in state has its own weather forecast. BBC weather has given the temperature people who are queuing can expect.

10:24 , Sami Quadri

Alfie, 11, from Lancashire, wore his Scouts uniform complete with Platinum Jubilee badge as he joined the queue for the lying in state.

His grandmother Karen Todd said: “Alfie really wanted to pay his respects to the Queen, and he wanted to come in his Scout uniform to honour her.

“And we came because it’s a momentous occasion and a moment in history. They’ll always remember this for the rest of their lives, so we’ve only got this one opportunity.”

The family left home at 11.45pm on Friday, and Ms Todd said she “had to sleep in a car park for an hour and a half” before getting on a bus to reach the queue.

Upon checking the queue tracker, Ms Todd said: “We were going to come this evening, but we came earlier because we didn’t want to miss it.”

She added: “It’s been okay. Clear roads. It’s well organised. Just hoping my legs and feet stay strong.”

The family brought thermals and plenty of snacks for the wait.

Pictured: Members of the public view Queen’s coffin

09:56 , Sami Quadri

 (PA)
(PA)

08:55 , Sami Quadri

Linda Partridge, 71, and Simon Hopkins, 59, travelled down from the West Midlands for the lying in state, despite warnings that the queue was closed, because they felt “they need to come down”.

Ms Partridge, who had left home at 3am, told PA on Saturday morning: “Even though they said it was closed I felt that need to come down.

“If we’ve got here and then they turned away, then fine. I would have just felt I needed to come and then be told I couldn’t go”.

Mr Hopkins added: “There was a sense of perhaps ‘best not travel’ but just to make the journey and just to check it out, and you know, if it ended in disappointment, and then so be it.”

He likened the experience to a “pilgrimage”, which he said “is a bit strange because that kind of goes against my grain”.

“I’ve been kind of drawn into it,” he added.

Officials reopen queue

08:23 , Sami Quadri

The queue for the Queen’s lying in state has been reopened - but officials have warned that the waiting time is 24 hours.

The huge line is now accessible via Southwark Park.

Brain tumour patient ‘burst into tears’ opening one of the Queen’s last letters

08:06 , Sami Quadri

A brain tumour patient said she is “still in shock” after receiving one of the last letters from the Queen before her death.

Kerri Parker, 38, has raised more than £16,000 for UK-based medical charity Brain Tumour Research and wrote to the Queen to thank her after attending a Platinum Jubilee Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in July.

Ms Parker, who was also crowned Ms Universe World International in Miami last month, said it “broke my heart a little” to receive a response from the monarch dated September 5, just three days before the Queen died at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire.

“I just can’t believe it – my name and what I’ve done for Brain Tumour Research was one of the last things that she’d have seen, as far as correspondence goes,” Ms Parker, from Norwich, told the PA News agency.

“Someone of that stature, to not (have just) seen my name but seen what I’ve achieved for Brain Tumour Research is just absolutely remarkable.

“It’s such a wonderful tribute and must have been one of her last letters… It’s a little bit of history, something I’ll treasure that broke my heart a little.

“I’m still in shock, it’s crazy.”

Man arrested after approaching the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall

07:56 , Sami Quadri

A man is in police custody after reports of someone running up the steps to the catafalque and touching the coffin.

The Metropolitan police were said to have rushed to detain the man just before 10pm last night, hours after senior royals held a vigil.

A statement from Scotland Yard said: “Around 22:00hrs on Friday 16 September officers from the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command detained a man in Westminster Hall following a disturbance.

“He was arrested for an offence under the Public Order Act and is currently in custody.”

A spokesperson for UK parliament added: “We’re aware of an incident in Westminster Hall, in which a member of the public moved out of the queue and towards the Catafalque.

“They have now been removed from the Hall and the queue restarted with minimal disruption.”

The Queen was discussing her love for her horses ‘right to the very end’

07:46 , Sami Quadri

The Queen was in “tremendous form” before she died and discussed “her love for her horses right to the very end”, according to her trusted bloodstock and racing adviser.

John Warren features in one of the most repeated TV clips of the last week, when the Queen clapped her hands and beamed as her horse Estimate claimed victory in Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup in 2013 – the first time in the race’s 207-year history that it had been won by a reigning monarch.

Mr Warren said he spent the weekend before the Queen died in Scotland, discussing her horses, as they had done so many times before.

“We sat there for hours over the weekend strategising and making plans going forward”, he said.

“And I think the nicest thing for me is to know that she was surrounded by her family members.

“She was in such a healthy state of mind and in tremendous form.

“It’s very important to know that she was absolutely, wonderfully switched on.”

Mr Warren said the Queen had seen a lot of the King and Queen Consort, who were also in Scotland, and was enjoying having different groups of family staying at Balmoral.

“She really loved having them right there with her and being able to talk about her horses and her love for her horses right to the very end,” he said.

“I left her on Monday afternoon, the prime ministers were coming in on the Tuesday, she had a winner on the Tuesday.

“On the Tuesday evening she was in really good form, delighted she had had a winner, and talked about the prime ministers coming in and out, and I can hardly believe it possible that within less than 48 hours the Queen had died.”

Queen’s grandchildren to hold vigil at her coffin

07:41 , Sami Quadri

The Queen’s eight grandchildren, including Princes William and Harry, will hold another vigil in Westminster Hall tonight.

The Prince of Wales will stand at the head, the Duke of Sussex at the foot. At the King’s request, they will both be in uniform.

The other grandchildren will be in morning suits and dark formal dresses with decorations.

William will be flanked by his cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Philips, the children of the Princess Royal; while Harry will be with the Duke of York’s daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

It follows reports that the Duke of Sussex has been given permission to wear his military uniform at the vigil after Palace officials reportedly intervened on his behalf.

Truss set to meet world leaders ahead of Queen’s funeral

07:37 , Sami Quadri

Liz Truss is set to hold meetings with world leaders as they travel to the UK for the Queen’s funeral.

The Prime Minister will speak with counterparts from New Zealand and Australia on Saturday, with the conversations framed by No 10 as chats rather than formal bilateral meetings.

Downing Street suggested they would be an opportunity for condolences over the Queen’s death, with politics likely to come up.

The first meeting is at the Government’s Chevening country residence, rather than Chequers, which is said to be undergoing routine maintenance work after Boris Johnson’s exit.

Ms Truss will meet New Zealand’s premier Jacinda Ardern and Australian leader Anthony Albanese on Saturday.

Ms Ardern has said the Queen’s death and new King will be the “focus of conversation”, with the pair also likely to discuss Ukraine and the UK’s free trade agreement with New Zealand.

But all will be “within the context of the week of mourning that the UK is currently in”.

Crowds urged not to join the queue for lying in state

07:10 , Matt Watts

Officials are urging people not to travel to join the queue whch is near capacity - with waiting times of at least 24 hours.

The Government tracker is urging people to check its tracker for updates.

However people were still seen joping the queue early on Saturday.