The Princesses, daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, took part in a 15-minute vigil for the late monarch this evening. The sisters appeared emotional as they stood guard around the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall as members of the public slowly filed past them.
It comes after the York sisters 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 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.”
The Queen is currently lying in state at Westminster Palace in London, with hundreds of thousands of mourners filing past her coffin to pay their respects.
Beatrice and Eugenie were joined by their cousins – Prince William, Prince Harry, Lady Louise, James, Viscount Severn, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips – for the vigil.
Their father, the Duke of York, appeared at an emotional service alongside his siblings on Friday evening.
Eugenie was seen being comforted by Andrew while admiring tributes left for her grandmother last weekend.
The Queen died at age 96 on September 8, with the family making a number of public appearances since her death.
It comes as final preparations for the state funeral on Monday are under way, with politicians and royal dignitaries from around the world arriving over the weekend.