Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is now lying-in-state at Westminster Hall on the Parliamentary estate. A hall built in 1097 under William II (Rufus), the son of William the Conqueror. The Royal family must be exhausted from all their dedication and care to the process of the past week. I should imagine they will all be in need a few days rest before Monday.
Now a vigil is kept. Which I think is beautiful. When my father passed away many years ago, I didn’t want to leave him alone at the funeral directors. I wanted to stay and keep watch over night. Of course, that wasn’t permitted. I can understand why cultures do have vigils. And feel it must have been very hard for Princess Anne the Princess Royal to have left for Buckingham Palace this afternoon, having accompanied her late mother for the week. What an incredible act of love by her.
Members of the public can pay their respects to her Majesty until early on Monday morning, the day of the state funeral. The continually moving queue, and we’re known for queuing in the UK, is expected to exceed 2 miles in length. 33,000 people in Scotland payed their respects within 24 hours.
The Queen’s coffin is guarded at each corner, 24 hours a day by soldiers from units that serve the Royal Household, including the Grenadier Guards and Blues and Royals. They change over every 28 minutes. Which is performed seamlessly, as one would expect. With just a tap of a rod on the stone floor, which echoes across the vast space, they move into place and the previous guards subtly leave.
It feels very strange in this country at the moment. If you are a royalist or not, there is a sense of quietness, the need to show our respect, of reflection and to see the process through. None of which any of us is familiar with. So much symbolism and formality. As we adjust to the change. But one thing is for sure the Queen will be greatly missed as a woman of faith, integrity, service and diligence. And for having been a quite remarkable person.
We’re all adjusting to singing the change in the national Anthem. I’m sure a few of us will slip up for quite a while to come. As we become used to King Charles III being Head of State.
Have a blessed day⚘
*Images captured from BBC Live stream of HM Queen: Lying-In-State. Which is being broadcast 24 hours a day on BBC iplayer until Monday morning.