King Charles III and his eldest son Prince William were greeted by cheers on Saturday as they shook hands with people queuing for hours through London to watch Queen Elizabeth’s coffin as it is in state ahead of her funeral .
The slogan “God save the king” came from the crowd as the new monarch and heir to the throne thanked members of the public, before paying attention to the stream of world leaders arriving for the grand state farewell on Monday.
“I’m very happy. He was very calm, and friendly and he was very gentle,” said Geraldine Potts-Ahmed, a secretary in her late 50s, when she tried to control her emotions after shaking hands with Charles. fought for.
“He’s going to make the best king. That gentleness and that tenderness, I saw the queen in him.”
The Queen’s death on 8 September at the age of 96, after breaking a record of 70 years on the throne, caused a flood of emotions.
Members of the public have been waiting for more than 25 hours to see his flag-covered coffin, braving the chilly night temperatures.
“She would never believe it, honestly, she really wouldn’t.”
The Prince of Wales says his grandmother, The Queen, will not believe how large the queue is to see him lying in the kingdom. pic.twitter.com/K7KmdC4x1z
— Charlie Proctor (@MonarchyUK) September 17, 2022
Princes William and Harry were later set to lead the surveillance of Queen Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren at their coffin, joining the thousands of members of the public who queued up for twenty-four days.
Lines have been lined for miles along the River Thames since Wednesday, when his coffin was brought to Britain’s Parliament complex.
Those inside Parliament’s Westminster Hall for the Late-in-State were shocked late Friday when a man stepped out of line and approached the coffin, which sits topped with the Imperial State Crown.
A live television feed of mourners was cut briefly around 10:00 p.m. (2100 GMT) as police took the man into custody, two hours after Charles and his three siblings walked through the cavernous hall. I kept my watch.
London’s Metropolitan Police said he was arrested for an offense under the Public Order Act and is currently in custody.
The London Ambulance Service said around 435 people required medical treatment, often from a head injury after fainting in the queue.
But Jenna O’Sullivan, a charity worker for Pontypridd in Wales, said her 14-hour wait after paying her last respects in the coffin was worth it.
“It was very emotional with such a nice atmosphere of peace and quiet,” the 36-year-old said.
“The queue was long but it felt like a celebration. We made some lovely friends.”
Police are stepping up Britain’s biggest security operation ever for Monday’s funeral, as hundreds of dignitaries, including US President Joe Biden, prepare to board the plane.
Less than two weeks into her prime ministership, British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Saturday kicked off a packed weekend of meetings with world leaders including New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern and her Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese, at the government’s Chevening country residence. was getting started.
On Sunday she was due to meet Biden, Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Polish leader Andrzej Duda in Downing Street.
Meanwhile, Charles was due to meet on Saturday the prime ministers of the Commonwealth region – the 14 former colonies he now governs in addition to the United Kingdom – which include Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand. ,
From Australia and Canada to Jamaica and Papua New Guinea, they have formally declared him their new sovereign.
But republican movements are gaining ground in many countries, and efforts to keep them all in the imperial fold will likely be a feature of his reign.
Charles ended his first visit as Britain’s four-nation monarch on Friday with a visit to Wales, part of an operation called “Spring Tide” to launch him into his new role.
‘Tide of Emotions’
Back in London, Charles joined his siblings – Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – in a 15-minute vigil around his mother’s coffin on Friday night.
They stood, kept silent and lowered their eyes, while members of the public recorded past.
The vigil will be repeated on Saturday evening by eight grandchildren, including Prince William, the new heir to the throne, and his estranged brother Harry.
Harry – who served two tours with the British Army in Afghanistan – has been given special permission by his father to wear a military uniform despite not being a working royal.
The move appears to be the latest olive branch given by Charles to Harry after the prince and his wife Meghan, who now live in California, accused the royal family of racism.
The personal grief of the Queen’s family is playing out in the glare of intense international attention.
But Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, said: “We are overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has gripped us and many have gone out of their way to express their love, admiration and respect.”
The public has until early Monday to view the coffin before the Queen is honored with Britain’s first state funeral in nearly six decades.
The spectacular ceremony at Westminster Abbey – which is expected to be witnessed by billions of people around the world – will see 142 sailors pulling a gun-cart with its lead-lined coffin.
It will be attended by more than 2,000 guests, but leaders from countries at conflict with Britain such as Russia, Belarus and Afghanistan have not been invited.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan will attend, Beijing’s foreign ministry confirmed, after a diplomatic dispute prevented Chinese officials from moving the coffin inside parliament.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)