King Charles will lead his siblings to the wake over the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall | King Charles III
Among the most poignant ceremonies ahead of the Queen’s state funeral will be the Princes’ Vigil on Friday evening, when the King and his siblings watch over her coffin while it is officially laid in state.
The King, Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex will stand guard at the four corners of the Westminster Hall catafalque for a 15-minute vigil. All will be in military uniform, including Prince Andrew, who as a non-working royal was excused from wearing the uniform for this most personal gesture.
The king “is focused on leading the family, the nation, the realms and the Commonwealth in mourning Queen Elizabeth II”, his spokesman said.
Charles is to hold his first major state event at Buckingham Palace in the form of an official reception for heads of state, foreign royals and foreign official visitors ahead of the state funeral.
This follows a busy few days of commitments, when he traveled to Edinburgh and Belfast.
He is due to meet the military chiefs of staff at Buckingham Palace on Saturday and attend a luncheon for governors-general with the Queen Consort, then meet the kingdom’s prime ministers at Buckingham Palace.
Charles, who was the longest serving Prince of Wales in UK history, will return to Wales as King on Friday, when he and the Queen consort travel to Cardiff and receive a message of condolence from the Welshman Senedd.
He will hold a private audience with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford at Cardiff Castle before attending a reception in the Welsh Government Banquet Hall.
His arrival by helicopter in Wales will be marked by a 21-gun salute. King Charles and Camilla will also visit Llandaff Cathedral for a service of prayer and reflection.
Upon his return to Buckingham Palace, Charles will greet religious leaders in Buckingham Palace’s Bow Room before heading to Westminster Hall to hold the vigil with his siblings.
He was spending Thursday in Highgrove, Gloucestershire, where he would undertake state business, receive his red boxes and take calls from governors-general and heads of state.