King Charles III travels to Wales on his latest visit to the four countries of the United Kingdom as preparations for the Queen’s funeral accelerate.
With queues to see Queen Elizabeth II’s casket lying in the state’s more than 4 miles (6.4 km) long, Charles and his three brothers – Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – were due to hold a family vigil in front of the coffin.
The so-called Vigil of the Princes, with all four royals in ceremonial uniform, will last 15 minutes from Saturday 0430 AEST (Friday 1830 GMT).
British officials on Thursday pledged a “appropriate tribute” to the Queen, who died last Thursday at the age of 96, after 70 years on the throne that broke a record.
Her death sparked an outpouring of emotion, as tens of thousands queued for hours to pay their respects to the late king.
Charles, who until last week was the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history, was due to fly by helicopter to Cardiff early Friday.
A spokesman for the king said he has a “lifelong commitment to the people of the country” and will have a private meeting with Welsh First Minister Mark Druckford during his visit.
The spokesperson added that the king was “resilient and hardworking” despite his loss, and “focused on leading the family, the nation, the kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.”
unique and timeless
The Queen will be honored with a state funeral – the first Britain has seen in nearly six decades – at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning, with more than 2,000 guests expected.
After the service, the coffin will be carried by royal casket to the Queen’s home of Windsor Castle, west London, before a commissioning service at St George’s Chapel attended by several past and present royal staff.
This will be followed by a private burial attended only by members of the royal family, where the Queen will be laid to rest alongside her late husband Philip, her parents and her sister.
US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian leader Anthony Albanese and French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed their attendance at the funeral, as well as Japanese Emperor Naruhito and several members of the royal family.
“The Queen has held a unique and immortal place in all of our lives,” funeral organizer Duke of Norfolk Edward Fitzalan Howard, also known as Earl Marshall, told reporters at a press briefing.
“It is our goal and our belief… that the next few days will unite people around the world and will resonate with people of all faiths, while fulfilling the wishes of His Majesty and her family in a fitting tribute to an extraordinary judgment,” he said. .
The state funeral will come four days after the Queen’s coffin was laid in Westminster Hall.
The queue to enter the vast hall where the coffin is located since late Wednesday has attracted a seemingly endless number of mourners.
The casket is draped in a standard royal flag, with the Imperial State Crown, ceremonial orb and scepter at the top, with tall, twinkling candles at each corner.
Rupa Jones, a 43-year-old from London, told AFP after emerging from the cavernous space, the centuries-old oldest part of Britain’s parliament, describing the experience as “overwhelming”.
She and her aunt queued for about seven hours all night for a fleeting moment in front of the coffin.
The dreary atmosphere inside is complemented by guards in festive garb around the podium in a continuous vigil.
Mourners marked their moments in front of the coffin in various ways, from bows or bows to the sign of the cross or simply by removing their hats.
Some wipe tears. Others brought babies in prams. The old soldiers paused and paid a final salute to their former commander-in-chief.
By early Thursday afternoon, the queue had grown to more than 6.4 kilometers along the south bank of the Thames, with people waiting all night.
Organizers have prepared up to 10 miles of infrastructure for queuing, with hundreds of thousands expected to participate, particularly over the weekend.
Musician Jackie Smith, who joined the waiting list on Wednesday night, was sad but excited about the new king’s reign.
“I’ve been waiting for her for a long time,” she told AFP from Lambeth Bridge, just outside Westminster Hall. “I love the Queen, but I’m a real fan of Charles.”
Meanwhile, William and his wife Kate traveled to Sandringham, the family’s winter resort in eastern England, to watch the floral salute left by members of the public.
His mother, Charles, 73, was appointed Prince of Wales in 1958, and on his first full day as king, he awarded the title to his eldest son.
The historical title was given to the heir apparent since the beginning of the 14th century.
Thursday’s visit was the first official engagement by the new Prince and Princess of Wales.
Elizabeth’s youngest son, Prince Edward, 58, and his wife Sophie visited Manchester in northwest England to see the Book of Civic Condolences in the city’s central library and pay homage to flowers.