A man has been arrested by police in London after witnesses say he rushed Queen Elizabeth II‘s coffin Lying in State on Friday inside Westminster Hall and lifting the Royal Standard, the official flag of the sovereign.
According to multiple reports, the man injured a 7-year-old girl as he scurried past security and grabbed a hold of the coffin before cops from the Metropolitan Police and security personnel tackled him to the floor. Onlookers were stunned in disbelief at the shocking disturbance, many of whom had been waiting for hours to pay their respect for Her Majesty, who died on Sept. 8. The queen’s State Funeral is set for Monday at 6 a.m. ET.
It’s unclear at this moment why the man rushed the coffin, but police wasted little time jumping into action. Cops released a statement, obtained by ITV News, which stated that the man was “arrested for an offence under the Public Order Act and is currently in custody.”
An eyewitness described the man in question and painted a picture of the scene to the Daily Mail.
“We saw him in the queue from the beginning of the queue and throughout the day. He was by himself,” the witness said. “When we entered the room we were at the top of the stairs when we saw the incident. A lady screamed as it happened. It was quite unnerving.”
The outlet also interviewed the aunt of the girl who was purportedly pushed out of the way.
“A person decided they were going to push my seven-year-old niece out the way, run up to the coffin, lift up the standard and try to do I don’t know what,” the woman said. “She was grabbed out the way and the police had him within two seconds.”
Earlier in the day, King Charles III and his siblings — Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne — stood vigil for their late mother. The four siblings, all wearing military uniforms, entered Westminster Hall as mourners paying vigil watched on.
The royals made their way to the queen’s coffin, which King’s Body Guards were standing watch over, to ceremoniously protect their late mother’s coffin.
The waiting time to view the queen’s coffin grew to as much as 24 hours. David Beckham was among mourners who waited hours to pay their respects. In the soccer star’s case, Beckham waited 13 hours with members of the public for his turn to see the late British monarch’s coffin inside of Westminster Hall.
Once inside, Beckham, 47, looked visibly emotional, wiping away tears as he walked past the queen’s coffin, which is currently lying-in-state for members of the public to pay their respects ahead of Monday’s State Funeral.
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