The death of Her Majesty The Queen has seen some changes to the event known as the Vigil of the Princes. Now known as the Vigil of the Princes and Princesses, the event is a mark of respect. It is often performed during a royal state funeral or a ceremonial funeral. When the tradition started, only male family members were allowed to participate.
Vigil of the Princes has happened three times in history. The first was with King George V. The second was with The Mother, and the third was with Queen Elizabeth II. So the event has happened four times. Once with George V and the Queen Mother and twice for Her Majesty The Queen.
So, let us explain what the Vigil of the Princes (and Princesses) actually is.
When The Vigil Of The Princes Started
The tradition started with King George V lying in state in 1936. The king’s four surviving sons; King Edward VIII (later the Duke of Windsor), Prince Albert of York (later King George VI), Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Prince George, Duke of Kent, took their places standing guard around their father’s coffin on January 27, 1936. This first Vigil of the Princes took place when Westminster Hall was closed.
The Passing Of The Queen Mother
Sixty-six years later, the second Vigil of the Princes was held on April 8, 2002. It occurred upon the death of The Queen Mother, at the age of 101. The vigil was not held for King George VI. Because The Queen Mother and King George VI didn’t have sons, their grandsons, Princes Charles (now King Charles III), Andrew Duke of York, Edward Earl of Wessex, and their cousin David Armstrong-Jones (now Earl Snowden, then Viscount Linley) took their places. Charles and Andrew wore Naval uniforms, while David and Edward wore Morning. The then-Viscount Linley didn’t serve while Edward entered the royal marines but left before basic training could be completed.
The changing of the guard with the Queen Mother’s grandsons happened after they relieved the Royal Company of Archers. The Archers had replaced the Yeoman of the Guard.
Her Majesty The Queen
Fast-forward twenty years, and Her Majesty The Queen now lays in state at Westminster Hall after her death at 96. She died in Scotland at Balmoral castle. Her coffin journeyed through Scotland and back towards London, where it currently lays.
Unlike the Vigil of the Princes for her mother and grandfather, The Queen’s Vigil of the Princes will happen twice with an adjacent event with her eight grandchildren. The first has already taken place at Saint Giles’ Catherdal, Edinburgh. What made the event so significant was the change to include Her Majesty’s only daughter, Princess Anne the Princess Royal. As a result, the event has since become known as The Vigil of the Princes and Princesses due to the Princess Royal. At the service were Camilla Queen Consort, Sophie Countess of Wessex and Sir Timothy Laurence, the spouses of three of The Queen’s children. The vigil lasted minutes.
The second Vigil for Her Majesty will take place at Westminster Hall, again with His Majesty, the Duke of York, Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex. The day after this service, it will be the turn of The Queen’s eight grandchildren to hold vigil for their grandmother. This event will last fifteen minutes. This guard will include Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, William The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Lady Louise and James Viscount Severn.