The Queen’s beloved daughter-in-law Sophie Wessex appeared tearful as she joined her husband Prince Edward to watch their children take part in the vigil on Saturday night.
Sophie, 57, who had been described as the Queen’s ‘rock’ and her ‘second daughter’, appeared emotional as she observed the 15-minute ceremony in Westminster Hall.
Her daughter Lady Louise Windsor, 18, and James, Viscount Severn, 14, joined their cousins Prince William, Prince Harry, Zara Tindall, Peter Phillips, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice to stand guard over the Queen.
The Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward looked on, the only senior members of the Royal Family to do so.
The Queen’s beloved daughter-in-law Sophie Wessex appeared tearful as she joined her husband Prince Edward to watch their children take part in the vigil on Saturday night
Sophie, 57, who had been described as the Queen’s ‘rock’ and her ‘second daughter’, appeared emotional as she observed the 15-minute ceremony in Westminster Hall
Sophie Wessex and Prince Edward were on hand to support their children Lady Louise Windsor, pictured, and James, Viscount Severn
Sophie Wessex, centre, appeared emotional as she arrived for the vigil in honour of the Queen at Westminster Hall
She was present last night as Prince Edward took part in a separate vigil with his siblings King Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew. Sophie also observed the first vigil in Edinburgh last week, making her and Edward the only senior royals to be present for all three.
The Countess of Wessex has been a constant presence since the death of the Queen, making a number of appearances to thank well-wishers across the country.
It has been reported that Sophie will also inherit a number of patronages held by Her Majesty. It will be seen as a reflection of both the close relationship the two women shared, and of the increasingly senior role she holds within the Royal Family.
Zara Tindall, Lady Louise Windsor and Princess Beatrice stood vigil at Westminster Hall on Saturday night
Princess Eugenie joined her sister and cousins at the vigil (left). Right, Prince Harry was permitted to wear military dress
Pictured: Princess Eugenie (back left), Princess Beatrice (back right), James, Viscount Severn (centre left), Lady Louise Windsor (centre right), Peter Phillips (front left) and Zara Tindall (front right)
Princess Eugenie (left) and Zara Tindall (right) looked sombre as they took part in the Vigil of the Princes on Saturday night
Prince William and the Duke of Sussex lead their cousins into Westminster Hall for the vigil on Saturday night
The Prince of Wales stands vigil beside the coffin of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, as it lies in state
William, now the heir to the throne, stood, his head bowed, at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. Both princes, who are military veterans, were in uniform. Mourners continued to file past in silence.
Harry, who served in Afghanistan as a British army officer, wore civilian clothes earlier in the week as the queen’s coffin left Buckingham Palace because he is no longer a working member of the royal family. He and his wife Meghan quit royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020. The king, however, requested that both William and Harry wear their military uniforms at the Westminster Hall vigil.
Before the vigil, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie issued a statement praising their ‘beloved grannie.’
‘We, like many, thought you’d be here forever. And we all miss you terribly. You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through this world. You taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever,’ the sisters wrote.
The Queen’s grandchildren stand in solemn silence as they mount a vigil for their late grandmother in Westminster Hall
Mourners are continuing to file past the coffin as the royal cousins stand beside their late grandmother’s coffin
The Queen’s four grandchildren stand around her coffin during their own vigil, similar to the one held by their parents on Friday
People queuing to see the queen have been of all ages and come from all walks of life. Many bowed before the coffin or made a sign of the cross. Several veterans, their medals shining, offered sharp salutes. Some people wept. Others blew kisses. Many hugged one another as they stepped away, proud to have spent hours in line to offer a tribute, even if it lasted only a few moments.
Overnight, volunteers distributed blankets and cups of tea to people in line as temperatures fell to 6 degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite the weather, mourners described the warmth of a shared experience.
‘It was cold overnight, but we had wonderful companions, met new friends. The camaraderie was wonderful,’ Chris Harman of London said. ‘It was worth it. I would do it again and again and again. I would walk to the end of the earth for my queen.’
People had many reasons for coming, from affection for the queen to a desire to be part of a historic moment. Simon Hopkins, who traveled from his home in central England, likened it to ‘a pilgrimage.’
Queen Elizabeth II ‘s grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) the Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Princess Eugenie, the Duke of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil
‘(It) is a bit strange, because that kind of goes against my grain,’ he said. ‘I’ve been kind of drawn into it.’
Saturday’s vigil followed one on Friday in which the queen’s four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – stood vigil at the coffin.
Edward said the royal family was ‘overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect (for) our dear mama.’
On Saturday, the new king was holding audiences with incoming prime ministers, governor generals of the realms and military leaders.
The Metropolitan Police arrested a man Friday night during the viewing for a suspected public order offense. Parliamentary authorities said someone got out of the queue and tried to approach the coffin.
Tracey Holland told Sky News that her 7-year-old niece Darcy Holland was pushed out of the way by a man who tried to ‘run up to the coffin, lift up the standard and try to do I don’t know what.’ She said police detained the man in ‘two seconds.’
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.
After the service Monday at the abbey, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun 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.
Hundreds of troops from the British army, air force and navy held an early-morning rehearsal Saturday for the final procession. As troops lined the picturesque path leading to Windsor Castle, the thumping of drums echoed in the air as marching bands walked ahead of a hearse.
London police say the funeral will be the largest single policing event the force has ever handled, surpassing even the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Platinum Jubilee in June celebrating the queen’s 70-year reign.