Queen’s eight grandchildren including Harry in military uniform stand by her coffin in vigil

  • The Queen’s eight grandchildren have held a vigil around her coffin this evening in Westminster Hall
  • It was held by Prince William, the Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, who was in his military uniform, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara
  • Tindall and Peter Phillips, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn
  • Last night, King Charles and his siblings, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward mounted their vigil

The Queen’s eight grandchildren – including Prince Harry in his military uniform – stood by her coffin in her honour as she lay in state in Westminster Hall as weeping mourners filed past tonight.

Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren Prince William, the Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, arrived just before 6pm where they held a 15-minute vigil.

Brothers William and Harry – both dressed in uniform – stood guard at the Queen’s lying in state in Westminster Hall on Saturday evening as a stream of mourners filed past after queueing for hours.

Prince Harry, who saw action on the front line during two tours of duty in Afghanistan, has previously been denied the chance to wear his military uniform as he publicly mourns, because he is no longer a working royal.

But royal sources said the King decided his youngest son could wear uniform for the vigil.

Despite being a former Army officer, Harry has been in civilian dress for official events this week, including walking behind the Queen’s coffin on Wednesday.

On Saturday evening, Prince Harry was wearing the 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.

Prince William was wearing the Blues and Royals, No.1 Uniform, The Garter Sash, The Garter Star, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals and RAF Pilot Wings.

The brothers were joined in their silent tribute around the coffin by cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Lady Louise Windsor and her brother Viscount Severn.

The young royals, led by Prince William, were in position at the top of the grand committee staircase in the corner of the vast hall at 5.58pm.

At 6pm, the tapping which signifies the changing of the guard sounded and William began walking down the steps, one at a time, followed by Harry, then Beatrice and Eugenie side by side, Louise and James side by side, and Zara and Peter also side by side.

Silence fell as members of the public looked on, with the only sound being the grandchildren’s footsteps on the stone.

Prince William was positioned at one end of the coffin, facing the north entrance, while Harry was positioned at the opposite end, facing the area of the hall where thousands of people have entered over the last few days.

The Prince of Wales stood with his hands clasped in front and his head bowed.

Louise and James’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, looked on from a platform facing the coffin.

Members of the public continued to file past while the Queen’s grandchildren stood guard, with some women wiping tears away from their face as they left the hall.

At 6.15pm, the tapping sounded and the grandchildren ended their vigil.

Prince William led the group away from the coffin, followed by Zara and Peter, Louise and James, Beatrice and Eugenie, and finally Harry.

As tearful mourners watched on, the Queen’s four children stood guard of their mother’s coffin for more than 10 minutes at Westminster Hall on Friday evening. The siblings each guarded a side of the coffin, with Charles, dressed in a Navy Admiral uniform, standing at the head.

It was their second, and final, vigil for the beloved monarch. Known as the ‘Vigil of the Children’ – an honor dating back to the time of George V – it mirrors a previous event held earlier this week at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

However, unlike the previous vigil in which Charles donned a kilt and Andrew a morning suit, all four siblings were dressed in military colors.

This afternoon, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have paid a moving, heartfelt tribute addressed to the Queen, saying: ‘Goodbye dear Grannie, it has been the honour of our lives to have been your granddaughters.’

The sisters, in a written message released as they prepared to mount a vigil around the late monarch’s coffin, thanked their grandmother for ‘making us laugh, for including us, for picking heather and raspberries, for marching soldiers, for our teas, for comfort, for joy’.

Beatrice and Eugenie said they missed the Queen terribly and thanked her for being ‘the loving hand on our backs leading us through this world’, adding: ‘We, like many, thought you’d be here forever.’

The princesses – the daughters of the Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York – shared the grief they have felt since the death of the Queen at Balmoral nine days ago.

They said: ‘Our dearest Grannie, We’ve not been able to put much into words since you left us all.

‘There have been tears and laughter, silences and chatter, hugs and loneliness, and a collective loss for you, our beloved Queen and our 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.’

Like the Queen’s other grandchildren, the princesses shared happy summers with the late monarch in the Scottish Highlands as the royals gathered each year on the Balmoral estate.

‘For now dear Grannie, all we want to say is thank you. Thank you for making us laugh, for including us, for picking heather and raspberries, for marching soldiers, for our teas, for comfort, for joy,’ they said.

They added, in a nod to the Queen’s modesty: ‘You, being you, will never know the impact you have had on our family and so many people around the world.’

Beatrice and Eugenie spoke of the Queen being reunited with her husband of 73 years the Duke of Edinburgh who died just 17 months ago.

‘We’re so happy you’re back with Grandpa. Goodbye dear Grannie, it has been the honour of our lives to have been your granddaughters and we’re so very proud of you,’ they said.

They also hailed their ‘dear Uncle Charles’ in his new role as monarch.

‘We know that dear Uncle Charles, the King, will continue to lead in your example as he too has dedicated his life to service. God save the King,’ the sisters said.

The princesses ended their message to the Queen with the words: ‘With our love, Beatrice and Eugenie.’

Yesterday, the Duke of York, was given special dispensation to wear uniform at the vigil, as a ‘final mark of respect’ for his mother.

He was stripped of his armed forces patronages earlier this year amid a sexual abuse lawsuit in the United States, allegations he denied, had previously been banned from wearing military colours at public events.

He wore the full military dress uniform of a Vice Admiral of the Navy, a title which he earned from his years serving in the Navy – including in the Falklands War.

Members of the royal family including James, Viscount Severn, Lady Louise Windsor, the Countess of Wessex, Jack Brooksbank, the Queen Consort, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Zara Tindall, Mike Tindall, the Duke of Kent, Mia and Lena Tindall, the Duchess of Gloucester, and the Earl and Countess of St Andrews all attended Friday night’s vigil.

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