King Charles III greets royal fans outside Cardiff Castle
King Charles III has returned to London to be alongside Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward for a sombre vigil to honour their late mother, Queen Elizabeth II at 7.45pm. The new king and his three siblings are paying a silent vigil at the coffin of Her Majesty as thousands of people queue for several miles to pay their last respects to the monarch during her lying in state. Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward will join the ceremonial guard for the 15-minute vigil at Westminster Hall, where the Queen’s coffin has rested since Wednesday.
Shorttly after 7.30pm, King Charles left Buckingham Palace by car to travel to Westomnster Hall.
On Saturday evening, the late monarch’s eight grandchildren, including brothers Prince William and Prince Harry, will also stand vigil beside her coffin.
The Queen’s coffin will lie in state at Westminster Hall in central London until the state funeral on Monday to provide members of the public with the opportunity to pay their respects to the late monarch.
The coffin stands on a purple-clad catafalque, draped in the Royal Standard and with the bejewelled Imperial State Crown placed on top.
King Charles is with Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward for a vigil to honour the Queen
Soldiers in ceremonial uniform are keeping vigil around it as people walk past to pay homage. Many have been pictured in tears, while others have saluted or bowed their heads.
The vigil comes hours after Prince Edward paid an emotional and heartfelt tribute to the Queen, whose death he said has left “an unimaginable void in all our lives”.
The Earl of Wessex said in a statement: “As a family, we have grown up learning to share our parents, especially our beloved mama, with the nation, her realms and the Commonwealth.
“While it has been lovely to have spent time saying our own farewell privately at Balmoral, it is now time to allow others to be able to say their farewell.
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“We have been 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 to such a very special and unique person who was always there for us.
“And now, we are there for her, united in grief. Thank you for your support, you have no idea how much it means.”
Edward concluded: “The Queen’s passing has left an unimaginable void in all our lives. Sophie and I have taken huge pleasure in seeing our James and Louise enjoying the places and activities that their grandparents loved so much.
“Given that my mama let us spend so much time with her, I think she also rather enjoyed watching those passions blossom. Those times together, those happy memories, have now become massively precious to each and every one of us.
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“May God bless Her Majesty and may her memory be long cherished even as the baton she has carried for these past 70 years now passes to the next generation and to my brother, Charles. Long live the King.”
Earlier today, the King and Queen Consort were welcomed by thousands of well-wishers as they arrived in Cardiff for their first visit to Wales since the death of the Queen last Thursday.
They travelled by helicopter before being driven to Llandaff Cathedral and as they set foot on Welsh soil, a gun salute was fired by reservists from 104 Regiment Royal Artillery at Cardiff Castle several miles away.
Inside the packed cathedral, the King and Queen Consort were led in procession down the aisle by the chaplain to a fanfare before the congregation sang a hymn.
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A service of prayer and reflection for the Queen’s life began, which included the singing of psalms by Llandaff Cathedral Choir and a reading in Welsh and English by the First Minister.
The service ended with the singing of the Welsh national anthem, and then followed by trumpet fanfare and a rendition of God Save The King.
Charles and Camilla then walked around the Cathedral Green to meet local members of the community while being greeted by loud cheers and shouts of “God Save The King”.
Later in the day, King Charles spoke at the Welsh Parliament, and said: “Through all the years of her reign, the land of Wales could not have been closer to my mother’s heart.
“I know she took immense pride in your many great achievements, even as she also felt with you deeply in time of sorrow. I am resolved to honour that selfless example,” he said, speaking in Welsh and English.
“I take up my new duties with immense gratitude for the privilege of having been able to serve as Prince of Wales. That ancient title, I now pass to my son William.”
The King and Queen consort rounded off their trip to Wales when they arrived at Cardiff Castle to cheers and flag waving from an adoring crowd.
The couple made their way to the front of the castle as the Band of the Royal Welsh played the national anthem and after cries of “God save the King”, Charles smiled and waved before heading inside for an audience with First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Finally, they met hundreds of members of the public in the grounds before leaving Wales and beginning their journey back to London for this evening’s vigil.