Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
The Princess is the first woman to have ever performed the rare ritual
On Monday evening, the Vigil of the Princes took place at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. The ritual involves members of the royal family standing guard around their relative’s casket as they lie in state.
Traditionally, only male members of the royal family stand guard, but on Monday Princess Anne made history as the first woman to ever perform the ritual.
Anne stood alongside her brothers King Charles III, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward for around 10 minutes on Monday. The siblings were accompanied by the Royal Company of Archers who were guarding the Queen’s casket around the clock.
Wearing a Scottish kilt, King Charles stood at the head of the coffin, which was adorned with the Royal Standard of Scotland, a floral wreath and the Crown of Scotland.
The last time the Vigil of the Princes was performed was during the Queen Mother’s funeral events in 2002. That time, Charles, Andrew and Edward were joined by their cousin David Armstrong Jones, Princess Margaret’s son.
The only other time the ritual has been performed was for the Queen’s grandfather, King George V, in 1936. Taking place at Westminster Hall, four male royals guarded the King’s casket, including King Edward VIII, Prince Albert, Prince Henry and Prince George.
The Vigil of the Princes is just one of the Queen’s funeral events that Princess Anne has played an important role in so far. The 72-year-old also stood behind the Queen’s coffin during the trip from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh on Sunday, during the move to St. Giles’ on Monday and on the flight back to London from Edinburgh on Tuesday.
The Queen’s casket arrived at Buckingham Palace last night, where mourners had been gathering for days. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to travel to London this week to pay their respects to the UK’s longest serving monarch, before her state funeral on Monday 19th September.
Our thoughts are with the royal family at this difficult time.