For only the fourth time in history, the world this evening witness what is known as ‘The Vigil of The Princes’.
The Vigil took place for the second time for the same Monarch, as Elizabeth II’s children first stood vigil at her coffin during her lying at rest at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.
The siblings entered Westminster Hall together dressed in military uniform. Only working Royals are allowed to wear uniform for all ceremonial events, which are part of the mourning and funeral proceedings, however exceptions are being made for Prince Andrew and Prince Harry when they take part in vigils at Westminster Hall (tonight and tomorrow evening).
Standing one on each side of the coffin, just as they had in St Giles, the siblings guarded their mother with their hands clasped together and their heads bowed.
It was the first time members of the Royal Family had returned to the Hall since they left the coffin there on Wednesday. Members of the public walking through to pay their respects were getting a final glimpse of their former Monarch and also getting a first glimpse (for most) of their new one.
It’s been a busy day for The King, who finished his tour of the UK in Wales today. The Earl of Wessex was also out earlier, meeting members of the public and viewing tributes outside of Windsor Castle with the Countess.
The Duke of York also viewed flowers privately inside of the Castle grounds with Sarah, Duchess of York.
The Princess Royal had a well deserved rest day today, after accompanying her mother on every step of her final journey up until Wednesday and visiting Glasgow yesterday. Princess Anne also makes history, being the first female to take part in this ‘Vigil of The Princes’.
The vigil lasted no more than 15 minutes before the siblings left their mother’s side once more. For those moments, and for a few before, they were watched by the extended Royal Family from a small balcony at the side of the hall, a group which had been led in by The Queen Consort, Camilla.
In attendance were some of The Queen’s great-grandchildren, like the Phillips sisters and Mia and Lena Tindall, who have not been seen at any of the previous events
The senior royal siblings will not see their mother’s coffin again until Monday morning, when they accompany it in procession to Westminster Abbey for the State Funeral.
Tomorrow, another vigil will take place when Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren will guard her coffin for a few moments. It will be the first time ever that a Monarch will have three ‘Vigil of The Princes’ taking place for her, but then again, there hasn’t ever been a monarch like Elizabeth II.