London: A man has been arrested after running towards the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying-in-State at Westminster Hall in London as thousands of mourners file past to pay their respects.
The man was arrested under the UK’s Public Order Act and taken into custody, Metropolitan Police said. The incident occurred on Friday night and eyewitnesses reported seeing the man “run up” towards the raised platform on which the late monarch’s coffin is laid along with the Imperial crown and other regalia.
“Around 10pm on Friday 16 September, officers from the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command detained a man in Westminster Hall following a disturbance,” the Met Police said in a statement.
“He was arrested for an offence under the Public Order Act and is currently in custody,” the statement said.
The live video stream, which has been running on the BBC throughout since the Lying-in-State opened to the public on Wednesday, was briefly paused during the incident.
“We’re aware of an incident in Westminster Hall, in which a member of the public moved out of the queue and towards the catafalque (raised platform),” a Parliament spokesperson said.
“They have now been removed from the hall and the queue restarted with minimal disruption,” the spokesperson said.
It comes as the public queue for the Lying-in-State has been running to full capacity, with a minimum of 16-hour wait times as people continue to travel from different parts of the UK to join the mourners. Footballer David Beckham was among some of the high-profile figures to join the queue, which has been running at over 8 kilometres along the River Thames.
On Friday, King Charles III was joined by his siblings – Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward – for a 15-minute vigil at the coffin. Their children, the Queen’s grandchildren, will observe a vigil on Saturday.
William, Prince of Wales, will be joined at the vigil by brother Prince Harry and cousins Zara Tindall, Peter Philips, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount James Severn.
At Charles’ “request”, Prince Harry will wear military uniform at the vigil, for the first time since 2020. He has worn civilian clothes at public events since the Queen died as he is no longer a working royal, having stepped back from frontline royal duties two years ago when he moved to the US with wife Meghan Markle.
The Queen will lie in state at Westminster Hall until her state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday. The queue to see the coffin will close on the morning of the funeral for preparation of the procession to convey the coffin a short distance to the Abbey service.