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Royal fans rush to say how proud Diana would be of Prince William

Royal fans were quick to say how proud Princess Diana would be of her eldest son after the Prince of Wales made a surprise appearance to greet mourners queuing in London with his father today.

Prince William and King Charles III met crowds who are waiting upwards of 16 hours to pay their respects to the late Queen on the South Bank near Lambeth this afternoon.

At the moment, those joining the line for Her Majesty’s lying in state at Westminster Hall will need to travel to Southwark Park – and they will face a wait of 16.5 hours.

But those in the queue this afternoon will take an extraordinary memory home with them, after the King and heir stunned hundreds with an impromptu walkabout.

Many were quick to hail the moment on social media, with one royal fan writing: ‘William is a true natural.’

Others pointed out that his late mother Princess Diana would surely be proud of him. 

Prince William and King Charles III met crowds who are waiting upwards of 16 hours to pay their respects to the late Queen on the South Bank near Lambeth this afternoon

 Prince William and King Charles III met crowds who are waiting upwards of 16 hours to pay their respects to the late Queen on the South Bank near Lambeth this afternoon

Princess Diana and a young Prince William greet well-wishers in Wales in a scene similar to one seen this afternoon

Princess Diana and a young Prince William greet well-wishers in Wales in a scene similar to one seen this afternoon

Princess Diana and a young Prince William greet well-wishers in Wales in a scene similar to one seen this afternoon 

Royal fans react to Prince William's walkabout

Royal fans react to Prince William's walkabout

Royal fans react to Prince William's walkabout

Royal fans react to Prince William's walkabout

Many were quick to hail the moment on social media, with one royal fan writing: ‘William is a true natural’

Charlotte said: ‘I can’t believe Prince William has gone to meet people in the queue to say thank you. He is so his mother’s son. She would be so proud of him.’

Elizabeth said the moment ‘brought me to tears’ as William was clearly determined to ‘speak to as many as he can in the 16-hour queue’.

Amy agreed, saying: ‘Prince William is just like his mother. Princess Diana would be so proud’.

Frederick Barwell said: ‘ABSOLUTELY AMAZING King Charles and Prince William taking their time to chat to the crowds and lift their spirits. Prince William is just as caring and brilliant as his mother was.’ 

Charles and William’s surprise walkabout came to the delight of hundreds in the line for the late Queen’s lying in state at Westminster Hall this afternoon.      

As the Prince of Wales shook the hands of mourners, he said: ‘It means an awful lot you’re here. She [the Queen] would never believe this.’

Revealing that his wife Kate Middleton and children George, Charlotte and Louis were ‘ok’ and ‘all united in grief’, William also said that he became emotional seeing his grandmother’s corgis, adding: ‘They are being looked after – they have gone to a very good home’. 

Princess Diana accompanies her son Prince William on his first official engagement in Cardiff, Wales, in 1991

Princess Diana accompanies her son Prince William on his first official engagement in Cardiff, Wales, in 1991

Princess Diana accompanies her son Prince William on his first official engagement in Cardiff, Wales, in 1991

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen

King Charles meets excited royal fans queueing along the banks of the Thames

King Charles meets excited royal fans queueing along the banks of the Thames

King Charles meets excited royal fans queueing along the banks of the Thames

Prince William reacts next to people queuing to pay their respects to the late Queen

Prince William reacts next to people queuing to pay their respects to the late Queen

Prince William reacts next to people queuing to pay their respects to the late Queen

The Prince of Wales is presented with a Paddington Bear along the South Bank

The Prince of Wales is presented with a Paddington Bear along the South Bank

The Prince of Wales is presented with a Paddington Bear along the South Bank

Several people cried after meeting the Prince of Wales, and one woman told him: ‘You’ll be a brilliant king one day’. 

Charles left before William, both of them in cars surrounded by police vehicles. 

Earlier on Saturday, the royals met London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Home Secretary Suella Braverman and London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley at Scotland Yard’s special operations. 

The King also met police staff, who he thanked for their planning and delivery of policing in the days leading up to his mother’s funeral, as well as workers at London Ambulance Service, London Fire Brigade, Transport for London and the Army. 

King Charles shakes the hands of well-wishers as he goes on a surprise walkabout with his son Prince William

King Charles shakes the hands of well-wishers as he goes on a surprise walkabout with his son Prince William

King Charles shakes the hands of well-wishers as he goes on a surprise walkabout with his son Prince William

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to see the Queen lying-in-state

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to see the Queen lying-in-state

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to see the Queen lying-in-state

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen

William, Prince of Wales greets people queueing to pay their respects to the late Queen

King Charles and William, Prince of Wales visit Metropolitan Police Headquarters

King Charles and William, Prince of Wales visit Metropolitan Police Headquarters

King Charles and William, Prince of Wales visit Metropolitan Police Headquarters

The King concluded his tour of the home nations yesterday, starting his day with a visit to Wales, after trips to Northern Ireland and Scotland in recent days. 

Final preparations are under way for the funeral in two days, with 2,000 VIPs – from world leaders Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Jacinda Ardern to royals including Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia and the Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima – expected to arrive shortly.

Queen’s lying in state: What you need to know 

The Queen is lying in state in London ahead of her funeral. Here is some of the information mourners need to know.

– What exactly is meant by the term ‘lying in state’?

Lying in state is usually reserved for sovereigns, current or past queen consorts, and sometimes former prime ministers.

During the formal occasion, the closed coffin is placed on view, as thousands of people queue to file past and pay their respects.

The coffin will be adorned with the Imperial State Crown, the Orb and the Sceptre.

– When and where will the Queen lie in state?

The late monarch’s lying in state in Westminster Hall opened to the public at 5pm yesterday and it will be open 24 hours a day until it closes at 6.30am on Monday, September 19 – the day of the Queen’s funeral.

– Where is Westminster Hall?

Westminster Hall, which dates back to 1099, is in the Palace of Westminster and is the oldest building on the parliamentary estate.

It forms part of the Westminster Unesco World Heritage Site and the UK Parliament website refers to its ‘great size’, the ‘magnificence’ of its roof, and its central role in British history.

The building has been the site of key events, such as the trial of Charles I, coronation banquets, and addresses by world leaders.

– Is there a big queue?

Yes. Government guidance says there will be a queue which is expected to be very long, predicted to be in the tens of thousands. 

As it stands the queue is about 14 hours long.

People will need to stand for ‘many hours, possibly overnight’, with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving.

People are not allowed to camp and a wristband system is being used to manage the queue, with those waiting in line given a coloured and numbered one, specific to each person, allowing them to leave for a short period.

‘Your wristband also allows you to leave the queue for a short period to use a toilet or get refreshments, then return to your place in the queue,’ according to the official guidance.

– What is the queue route?

Members of the public can join the line on the Albert Embankment, which runs behind the London Eye onto the Southbank before following the river past landmarks such as the National Theatre, the Tate Modern and HMS Belfast, reaching ‘maximum capacity’ at Southwark Park.

– Is there assistance for people who cannot queue for long periods of time?

The main queue has step-free access with a separate accessible route also planned to run from Tate Britain where timed entry slots will be issued for a queue going along Millbank to the Palace of Westminster.

Guide dogs will be allowed inside Westminster Hall, with sign language interpreters also on hand.

Venues including the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe will open for longer hours to accommodate those queuing. The British Film Institute on the Southbank will do the same while providing an outdoor screen with archive footage of the Queen.

Queueing today, Shiv Pandian, 58, from Raynes Park, south-west London, said his 30 years working as a urologist for the NHS had prepared him for a long wait.

‘There’s lots of places to eat and toilets and things; you’re used to working long hours at the NHS,’ he said, laughing. ‘The Queen has served us for 70 years. I’ve served along with her for 30 years. I’ve seen three jubilees of hers, and I want to say goodbye.’

He added: ‘I got out at Waterloo and followed the queue backwards, and then at one point I was guided here to Southwark Park. Then it said reassuringly, it’s 14 hours from the entrance here, so I’m hoping by midnight today I’ll have seen the Queen.’

Paula Priest, 53, from Wolverhampton, said she was happy to wait ‘as long as it takes’ to reach Westminster Hall. ‘We’re here for the duration now, definitely.’

Those who braved the trip despite Government warnings were pleasantly surprised by the pace of the queue. Later on Saturday morning the tracker had stopped telling mourners not to travel, and the wait had dropped to 16 hours.

There was constant movement through Southwark Park until the Thames path along Bermondsey Wall East where the queue became more stationary.

Bright pink wristbands, which state they do not guarantee entry to Westminster Hall, continue to be handed out. Those waiting described the experience as well-organised, with friendly staff and officers on hand to assist.

This morning, new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley was seen patrolling the queue for the Queen’s lying in state near Lambeth Palace in south London. He greeted mourners, including several who were wearing blankets after waiting in line for hours through the early morning, and walked from the east towards Lambeth Bridge.

Alfie, 11, from Lancashire, wore his Scouts uniform complete with Platinum Jubilee badge, to join the queue for the lying in state.

His grandmother, Karen Todd, said: ‘Alfie really wanted to pay his respects to the Queen, and he wanted to come in his Scout uniform to honour her.

‘And we came because it’s a momentous occasion and a moment in history. They’ll always remember this for the rest of their lives, so we’ve only got this one opportunity.’

The family left home at 11.45pm on Friday, and Ms Todd said she ‘had to sleep in a car park for an hour and a half’ before getting on a bus to reach the queue.

Upon checking the queue tracker, Ms Todd said: ‘We were going to come this evening, but we came earlier because we didn’t want to miss it.’ She added: ‘It’s been okay. Clear roads. It’s well organised. Just hoping my legs and feet stay strong.’

The family brought thermals and plenty of snacks for the wait.

Sachet Pariyar had travelled from Basingstoke with his father, who had served in the Queen’s Gurkha regiment, to attend the lying in state.

He said: ‘My dad served in the British Army before and the Queen’s Gurkha regiment, and my grandfather as well. So, we feel like we have that connection with the Queen and we wanted to come and pay respects.’

He added that he had been checking the queue’s live tracker and had seen it might take 24 hours, adding he was ‘a bit worried’ about the wait, but ‘thought if we can get the wristband, then we will give it a try’.

Linda Partridge, 71, and Simon Hopkins, 59, travelled down from the West Midlands for the lying in state, despite warnings that the queue was closed, because they felt ‘that need to come down’.

Ms Partridge, who had left home at 3am, said: ‘Even though they said it was closed I felt that need to come down. If we’ve got here and then they turned away, then fine. I would have just felt I needed to come and then be told I couldn’t go’.

Mr Hopkins added: ‘There was a sense of perhaps ‘best not travel’ but just to make the journey and just to check it out, and you know, if it ended in disappointment, and then so be it.’

He likened the experience to a ‘pilgrimage’, which he said, ‘is a bit strange, because that kind of goes against my grain. I’ve been kind of drawn into it.’

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