The 8 grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth gathered in Westminster Hall to watch over the coffin of the sovereign, who passed away on 8 September, which they will culminate on 19 September with the state funeral.
The first to pay homage to the sovereign’s coffin were Queen Elizabeth‘s four children, King Charles III, princes Andrea and Edoardo, and Princess Anna.
Once again, the Queen Elizabeth’s second child broke a decade-long tradition, becoming the first woman to ever participate in a vigil.
The wake of the grandchildren – Prince William of Wales, brother Harry of Sussex, Zara and Peter Phillips (Anna’s children), Beatrice and Eugenia York (Andrea’s daughters), and the youngest, Lady Louise and James Windsor (children of Edoardo and Sophie Wessex) – was equally incredibly suggestive: the photos tell us about the moving homage paid to a grandmother who played an essential role in each of their lives.
The vigil of the princes is a solemn wake carried out by the sons of a sovereign, a tradition that began in 1936 with the death of King George V, grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth’s Grandchildren at her funeral
The members of the royal family symbolically take the place of the royal guards to watch over the coffin: it is a relatively young ceremony that has been performed at this point only on four occasions, the first in 1936 precisely, the second on the occasion of the death of the Queen Mum and, finally, for Queen Elizabeth, both by her children and her eight grandchildren.
There was no shortage of controversies, especially regarding the vigil of the grandchildren: one of the strongest sparked the debate on who should wear the complete uniform, especially about those members ( Prince Harry and Prince Andrew of York ) who, for various reasons, they lost their military titles and ranks and therefore the right to wear the uniform. In the end, common sense prevailed.
King Charles permitted his brother (the only one who insisted on obtaining permission) and his son Harry to come to their respective vigils in uniform.
A last report on the watch revealed that the initials ER – Elizabeth Regina – did not appear on Harry’s uniform – a gesture experienced by Carlo’s son as a deliberate act of punishment that left him “heartbroken.”
With a beautiful message of farewell and condolence, even the sisters York, the princesses Beatrice and Eugenia, then chose to publish a post on Instagram for Queen Elizabeth, in which they said they were grateful and happy to have been so close to the sovereign, Unforgettable “matriarch, guide and shoulder.”
At this point, considering the chronology of the messages of condolence from family members on official channels, we can say that this followed the order of succession (there were, in fact, that of King Charles, of his son William, then that of Harry, of Princess Anne and, in conjunction with the wake, that of Princesses York), demonstrating that nothing, in these ten days of mourning, has been left to chance.
And that the long journey towards the farewell to the sovereign was a sort of great play, orchestrated, with a skillful hand, by hundreds of people who took care of every detail.
All the gestures, the ceremonies, the rituals we witnessed, even without general rehearsals (it was 2002, the year of Queen Mum’s death, when we did not see the Lying in State ceremony of a sovereign), are part of this vast and solemn fresco.
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth will be exhibited for a few more hours in Westminster Hall until 6:30 am of the funeral to welcome the hundreds of thousands of people lined up along the streets of London to greet the sovereign.
The wake of her eight grandchildren was the culmination of ten days full of emotions, moving images, and unique historical moments of which we will understand the extent only when everything is over and the Queen Elizabeth‘s body will finally be able to rest next to that of her beloved parents.
And her husband Philip of Edinburgh in St George’s Chapel in Windsor.