As Operation Unicorn continues in the wake of The Queen’s death, King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward have gathered together to conduct the Vigil of the Princes around their mother, Her Majesty The Queen’s coffin in St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The four siblings joined the Royal Company of Archers, who are tasked with guarding The Queen’s casket during its time in the Cathedral, for about 10 minutes as members of the public paid their respects.
The coffin was draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland and topped with a floral wreath and the Crown of Scotland.
For the symbolic stand, King Charles wore a Scottish kilt and stood at the head of the coffin.
His wife, Queen Consort Camilla and Edward’s wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex also sat nearby for the ceremony.
Making royal history, Princess Anne became the first female royal to join the Vigil.
The ritual has only been performed twice before, for King George V in 1936, and the Queen’s mother in 2022.
This is the second time that King Charles and Princes Andrew and Edward have taken part in the Vigil, having guarded the Queen Mother’s coffin 20 years ago.
On Sunday, The Queen’s coffin was driven from Balmoral, her place of death, to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where she will be laid to rest in the Throne room.
As the Royal Regiment of Scotland carried the oak coffin into The Queen’s official Scottish residence, Princess Anne, 72, watched on and paid tribute to her dearly departed mother in the sweetest way.
In an elegant fashion, Anne bowed her head and fell into what might be her last deep curtsy for her mother.
The gesture was made even more poignant by the fact it mirrored exactly how Queen Elizabeth II greeted Princess Diana’s coffin during her funeral in 1997, where she bowed her head as a sign of respect.
There to comfort Anne was another one of The Queen’s closest confidantes, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who is married to the late monarch’s youngest son, Prince Edward.
Sophie was pictured rubbing her sister-in-law’s back during the sombre and emotional occasion.