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Carlos III visits Wales before vigil over the coffin of Elizabeth II

Carlos III culminated this Friday in Wales his tour of the United Kingdom as the new monarch, before watching over the coffin of his late mother, Elizabeth II, along with his brothers at the “vigil of the princes” in London.

“Diolch o galon ichi am eich geiriau caredig” (“thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words”), he said in Welsh after receiving condolences from the regional Parliament, which he visited with his wife Camila.

The death of Elizabeth II, a symbol of unity for seven decades, boosted independence sentiment in Wales, as in Scotland and Northern Ireland, so this tour of her son and new king, 73, is considered crucial.

“I hope Wales is independent. Of course it would disrupt our economy because we depend on the UK economy, but I strongly believe in independence,” Zahra Ameri, 22, told AFP.

However, hundreds of admirers greeted Charles III with Welsh flags, white and green with a red dragon, in Cardiff.

The new monarch spent 20 minutes shaking hands, as the crowd chanted “hip, hip for the king!” and “God save the king!”.

“I shook her hand and said ‘I’m sorry about the death of your mother’. She replied ‘thank you, it means a lot to me,'” Sharon Driscoll, 48, who came with her 14-year-old daughter Ffion, told AFP.
The funeral chapel is open almost non-stop until 6:30 a.m. (05:30 GMT) on Monday, a few hours before the planned state funeral at Westminster Abbey and subsequent burial at a church next to Windsor Castle.

On Friday night, starting at 7:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. GMT), Carlos III and his brothers Ana, 72, Andrés, 62, and Eduardo, 58, will honor their mother there with the “vigil of the princes “, a tradition that dates back to 1936, when George V’s four sons stood guard around his coffin.

Carlos and his brothers already watched over the coffin in Edinburgh on Monday, while the Scots paraded through the first burning chapel of the monarch who died at the age of 96 on September 8 when he was in his Scottish castle in Balmoral.

For 10 minutes, they remained crestfallen on all four sides of the oak coffin, dressed in their military finery, with the exception of Andrés, from whom the queen herself withdrew this honor as a result of a sexual scandal.

However, an exception will allow Andrés to wear his uniform on this occasion, as will Prince Henry, 38, who shook the monarchy in 2020 when he and his wife Meghan decided to leave the royal family to go live in USA.

According to royal sources, Carlos III asked that the eight grandchildren of Isabel II participate in another vigil on Saturday.
“How proud you must be to see so many people,” he added, unable to hold back his tears.

Nearby, a few anti-monarchist protesters brandished banners calling for “Abolition of Monarchy,” “Citizen not Subject” and “Democracy Now.” But, much less numerous, their boos were drowned out by a standing ovation.

With the accession of Charles, the title of Prince of Wales passed to his eldest son, William, 40, now heir to the throne. However, some in the region are calling for the abolition of an honor originally created for Welsh princes and seen since the 13th century as a symbol of conquest by England.

David Beckham in the queue

Carlos III and Camila then traveled back to London, where thousands of people continued to parade through the burning chapel of Elizabeth II installed since Wednesday in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the British Parliament.

The huge influx forced the authorities to prevent more people from joining the kilometric queue that runs along the River Thames for hours. The wait was then around 14 hours. When its access was reopened, the government warned that it was already over 24 hours.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player David Beckham, 47, was seen there.

Dressed in a black suit, tie and coat, carrying a cap and an umbrella, he said he arrived at two in the morning. Twelve hours later he was seen leaving the funeral chapel, where he soberly bowed his head in front of the coffin and wiped away a tear.

“It’s very emotional, and the silence and atmosphere in the room is very difficult to explain, but we are all here to thank Her Majesty for being so kind, loving and comforting over the years,” Beckham told a group of journalists, including AFP.

Inside Westminster Hall, the coffin of Elizabeth II rests on a purple catafalque, covered by the royal standard, the imperial crown and the scepter, symbols of power of the British monarchy.

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