The Queen’s children surround her coffin for a somber vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral

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The Queen’s children stood in solemn reflection as they guarded her coffin for a brief vigil as some of the first members of the audience filed out.

The king, head bowed, returned to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh with his sister the Princess Royal and his brothers the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex hours after attending a service of thanksgiving for the Queen.

It came shortly after the public was able to walk past the Queen’s coffin for the first time since her death on Thursday.

Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward looked grim as they took their places on the four sides of the oak coffin.

They stood next to four robed members of the Royal Company of Archers who stood guard, wearing long plumed hats and armed with longbows and a quiver of arrows.

The procession of members of the public queuing to see the casket on Monday night was temporarily halted to allow the royals to take their seats.

Andrew kept his eyes closed for a while during the vigil while Anne and Edward were staring at the floor.

Charles, wearing a Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan and white heather in his Balmoral lapel, held his hands together and also looked to the floor.

Many of those who had surrendered in the past bowed to the new monarch.

The Queen Consort and the Countess of Wessex sat in seats opposite the coffin as the vigil, which began at 7.46pm and ended at 7.56pm, was held in the ancient cathedral.

Archers complete 20-minute guard periods in front of the coffin, which will remain in St Giles for 24 hours before being taken to London to lie in honour.

Members of the crowd cheered as Charles arrived at the cathedral and as he left.

As it passed by, they took pictures and video and said, “There it is. Here it is. This is the king.

Charles waved to the onlookers waiting by the barriers to catch a glimpse of him.

One woman was heard saying: “I dropped him off earlier and traveled from Glasgow to see him. I waited for five hours – I finally saw him.”

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