- Palace guards continuously stood vigil over the Queen’s coffin during her lying-in-state.
- The iconic Beefeaters were among those who kept the 24-hour vigil.
- Photos shared by the UK Ministry of Defence show them taking a break between their shifts.
This photo offers a rare glimpse of “Beefeaters” taking a break, as they took part in the continuous vigil over Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin during her lying-in-state in Westminster Hall before her funeral on Monday.
Beefeaters – officially the “Yeomen Warders of His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London” – are the iconic ceremonial guards who defend the Tower of London where the crown jewels are kept.
But following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, they were among those standing vigil over her coffin during the four days she lay in state in Westminster Hall.
The continuous 24-hour vigil was broken into four six-hour shifts for the guards, ITV reported. The shifts involved them standing totally still and rotating around the monarch’s coffin.
On Sunday, the UK Ministry of Defence shared four photos, including one of the Beefeaters between shifts, without their shoes on resting on red armchairs, with their red jackets hanging on racks in the background.
The caption read: “The UK Armed Forces are continuing to honor their Commander-in-Chief of 70 years, Her Majesty The Queen, as they stand vigil alongside The King’s Body Guard.”
—Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 18, 2022
As well as the Beefeaters, two other ceremonial parties were responsible for looking after Elizabeth’s coffin during her lying-in-state: The Gentlemen at Arms and The Royal Company of Archers, ITV reported.
The Royal Company of Archers are the Queen’s official bodyguards in Scotland, who guarded her coffin during her lying-in-state in Edinburgh last week, per ITV.
Beefeaters are all ex-members of the UK Armed Forces, having each served for at least 22 years, reached the rank of warrant officer and received the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.
The lying-in-state drew hundreds of thousands of people who wanted to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-serving monarch.