Berliner Tageszeitung - King Charles feted in Wales as queue wait to see late queen hits 24 hours

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King Charles feted in Wales as queue wait to see late queen hits 24 hours




King Charles feted in Wales as queue wait to see late queen hits 24 hours
King Charles feted in Wales as queue wait to see late queen hits 24 hours / Foto: © AFP

Crowds cheered King Charles III in the Welsh capital Friday -- though a handful protested -- while in London, the public was told they faced a wait of up to 24 hours to file past the coffin of the late queen.

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In Cardiff, Charles met in private with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, an avowed republican. There was isolated booing on the streets after the new monarch declared his son William the new Prince of Wales.

But Drakeford said questions over the future of the monarchy would "be a footnote to the dominant feelings of the day", following the death on September 8 of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96.

Large crowds chanted "God Save the King" as Charles shook hands with well-wishers following a multi-faith service in Llandaff Cathedral, and at Cardiff Castle, on the last of his visits to the UK's four nations.

In a speech at the parliament of Wales, which alternated between English and Welsh, he vowed to follow the "selfless example" of Britain's longest-serving monarch.

Charles added that William's "love for this corner of the Earth is made all the greater by the years he himself has spent here": his son trained as a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot in Anglesey.

Outside Cardiff Castle, a few protesters held up banners declaring "Abolish the Monarchy", "Citizen not subject" and "Democracy now".

Charles later returned to London to join his siblings -- Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward -- for a family vigil in front of the flag-shrouded casket as it lies in state in parliament.

- Playing for the queen -

The "Vigil of the Princes", with all four royals in ceremonial military uniform, will last for 15 minutes from 1830 GMT.

Eight of the queen's grandchildren, including William and his brother Harry, are expected to hold a similar vigil on Saturday evening.

Elizabeth's death has triggered an outpouring of emotion, with tens of thousands from all backgrounds and many nations queueing for hours, often through the night, to pay their respects in Westminster Hall.

The queue was paused for nearly an hour on Friday after a park at the end of the line along the River Thames reached capacity, the government said.

Then officials said just after 1600 GMT that "expected queuing time is over 24 hours" -- up from 14 hours for those at the end of the queue.

They also warned of cold overnight temperatures and another pause if the line reached capacity.

David Beckham, the England footballer turned fashion icon, was near the front in the afternoon after joining it in the early hours of Friday.

"I thought by coming at 2:00 am it was going to be a little bit quieter -- I was wrong," Beckham told ITV News, as selfie-seeking fans briefly held the queue up.

The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid star said every time the national anthem -- then entitled "God Save the Queen" -- had been played at England matches "meant so much to us".

Another one queueing was Peter Stratford, 70, a former firefighter who was one of the first on the scene of a huge fire in 1992 at Windsor Castle, where the queen will be buried on Monday.

"My ankles are killing me, but it's a small sacrifice to make," he told AFP after waiting in line for eight hours.

"I've been tearful, emotional... I wouldn't have missed it."

At Westminster Abbey on Monday morning, the queen will be honoured with Britain's first state funeral in nearly six decades, with more than 2,000 guests expected.

- Row with China -

After the televised service, the coffin will be transferred by royal hearse to Windsor Castle, west of London, for a private burial in which the queen will be laid to rest alongside her late husband Philip, her parents and her sister.

US President Joe Biden, Australian leader Anthony Albanese, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron have all confirmed their attendance at the funeral, as have Japan's Emperor Naruhito and numerous other royals.

Police are mounting Britain's biggest-ever security operation for the funeral, as global dignitaries jet in and crowds file past the queen's casket round the clock all weekend.

London's Metropolitan police force said it had arrested 34 people for a "range of offences" over the past week of mourning, but none for protesting against the monarchy.

One 19-year-old man was remanded in custody Friday after appearing before magistrates charged with two counts of sexual assault, after allegedly exposing himself to women in the queue.

An official delegation from China has been banned from attending the lying-in-state following an intervention by House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, parliamentary sources said.

It comes after China sanctioned several British lawmakers over their criticism of its human rights record.

"As the hosts, the British side should uphold both diplomatic courtesy and gracious hospitality," foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters in Beijing.

Downing Street refused to comment.

- 'Waste of money' -

In Westminster Hall, the sombre atmosphere is completed with members of the king's guard in ceremonial uniform posted around the podium in a constant vigil.

Mourners marked their moment in front of the coffin in various ways, from bows or curtsies to the sign of the cross or by simply removing their hats, an AFP reporter inside observed Friday.

Some wiped away tears. Others brought infants in pushchairs. Old soldiers stopped and gave one last salute to their former commander-in-chief.

Meanwhile, in Wales, many had waited hours for Charles's visit including Sharon Driscoll, who was in floods of tears after meeting him at Cardiff Castle.

"It was very emotional, very personal, the eye contact meant a lot in view of how long we've waited," the 48-year-old nurse said.

"I shook his hand and said 'I'm really sorry that your mum passed away'. He said 'thank you very much, it means a lot'," she said.

"How proud he must be to see all these people!"

"I'm hoping that Wales becomes independent. Of course, it would be a disturbance in our economy because we do rely on the UK, but I strongly believe in independence," she said.

L. Solowjow--BTZ