Vigil – QE II

I don’t consider myself a raging monarchist but neither am I a fanatical republican. Human development has depended upon individuals stepping up to be leaders (rather than the followers we mainly see today) and many of them have been monarchs.

I watched the BBC live stream of the ceremonial procession yesterday taking the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey to lie in state. Considering the short time available for preparation and rehearsal, the event was remarkably well done. The solemnity of the actors was matched by the restraint of a disciplined audience on the streets. The actors – many well over 70 – were on stage for almost 2 hours and performed remarkably well. I found – to my own surprise – the procession to be extraordinarily moving. Queen Elizabeth was born in the same year as my mother (1926). Most of my life has been in Elizabethan times. The ending of the procession with 10 (or maybe 12?) guards taking up Vigil around her coffin was particularly well done.

This morning I sat down at my computer at 0600 CET (5 am in the UK) and turned on the live stream just as the guards on vigil were changing. In silence and with no accompanying bugles or drums or cannons or bands. The mourners, who had been passing in a steady stream all through the night, were waiting quietly while the guard changed.  At the front of those waiting was a lady in a wheel-chair who had probably been queueing for over 12 hours. (I understand that each pass for the vigil guards lasts 6 hours but am not sure if this can be right. Standing for 6 hours in the Vigil position is not that easy).

Pomp and Circumstance indeed but very impressive and quite moving.

There is a place for ceremony and tradition in our lives.

The Vigil – Guard changing at 0600 CET 15th September 202



One Response to “Vigil – QE II”

  1. Ben Asirvatham Says:

    Nice write up on these historical moments with people paying their respects to the wonderful queen at the Westminster Hall after standing in the queue for around 5 – 6 hrs . Fortunately the English weather has held up well other than for the people who were in the Queue the first day .
    Taking about the vigil position, one of the guards had fainted last night .

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